Survey Reveals Scarcity Of Language Instruction

Scan Studies Program: I

Africa has come of age, and American and universities are beginning and take notice of this fact.

The history professor indicated last that plans are underway to establish divisional major in African studies possibly to include instruction languages. If Yale goes with its program it will join a of U.S. universities which are of study Africa in a unified comprehensive fashion.

Although over 50 colleges in the country one or more courses on Africa, or six have regular programs in studies.

The main impetus for the African programs that exist today came the National Defense Education 1958, which established four Language and Area Centers Duquesne, and Michigan universities, and at U.C.L.A.

of these centers offers instruction languages, in addition to in history, government, and . Howard teaches Yoruba and Duquesne gives Swahill courses; State offers Yoruba and Ibo; has the facilities to teach from Swahili to Kikongo, problems involved in teaching languages represent, in acute difficulties which colleges face to Africa as a whole. The is not lack of interest or shortage of funds, but the absence of qualified instructors for teaching and .

area of African languages this is compounded by the huge of languages, and by the long- feeling that their study really important. Nigeria alone has languages, and no administrative Africa has an indigenous language both official and majority, .

In facts, plus the feeling that Europe languages, particularly English and could become widespread, have urged the study of African language the U.S. up to the present.

This situation seems to be chang-William E. Welmers, professor African Languages at U.C.L.A., has to staunch defender of the language programs since their Inauguration at 1958. Explaining U.C.L.A.'s approach concerning African in a letter to the CRIMSON, "The usual attitude has we can't teach them all, so teach any. My attitude ... we can't teach them all, so we" prepared to teach ANY, as arises."

According to Welmers, "the usefulness and French in Africa has been exaggerated." He stressed the of language training for Peace Corps volunteers and others planning to live and work in Africa, and cited the experience of the first groups of Corpsmen to support his contention.

Welmers described a group of Harvard-trained volunteers in Nigeria who had no language training as "green with envy" at the language preparation which U.C.L.A. trainees received.

In addition to the four NDEA-sponsored centers, a number of colleges and universities have miniature Africa programs. A CRIMSON survey of 77 educational institutions revealed that 46 of them offer at least one course on Africa. Only 18 offer more than one course, however, and outside of the government-supported centers not more than two or three have the capacity for language instruction.

The most popular course offering in African studies is in anthropology--20 colleges teach "The People and Cultures of Africa" or its equivalent. Courses in African government or political development are given by 18 institutions.

A serious deficiency exists in the teaching of African history, the survey revealed. Out of the 77 institutions--including all the Ivy League schools, a number of large universities like Chicago and Stanford, and topnotch small colleges like Amherst--only eight have courses in African history.

Columbia, long a leader in the breadth and excellence of its language programs, began offering Swahili for the first time this year, and has established its own program in African studies--one of the first universities to do so without government support.

Undergraduates at Columbia can minor in Africa studies is conjunction with a major department, and can enroll in courses ranging from African arts and music to economic problems of underdeveloped areas.

David W. Crabb, lecturer in African languages at Columbia, defended the teaching of African languages on somewhat different grounds from Welmers. Identifying African languages as a valid branch of linguistics, he stated that "the scientific analysis of systems of communication is a 'high level' academic pursuit and should have a place in every curriculum."

* Yale gives a history and an anthropology course on Africa, and will add a government course next year. It also hopes to arrange informal language instruction in cooperation with the Hartford Theological Seminary, according to a story in the Yale Daily News.

* At Boston University a graduate program in African studies has been in existence since 1954. It does not include languages, however.

* Among the large universities which offer several courses on Africa are Wisconsin, U.S.C., and Stanford. Wisconsin hopes to begin teaching Swahili in the fall. The only other language instruction in the country is at Indians, where African languages form a limited part of the linguistics program.

* Several of the top small colleges, such as Amherst, Swarthmore, and Haverford, have no courses on Africa