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Kom Experimental Mother Tongue Education Pilot Project

2012 marks the 5th year of a longitudinal pilot project in the Kom language community located in the Boyo Division of the North West Region, Cameroon, involving the implementation of a mother tongue-based curriculum in 12 experimental schools.The project is being carried out by SIL International and led by Dr. Stephen Walter, who currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Language Development for the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL).

The project design also included 12 matching schools that were selected to serve as the control group for the study. In these control schools, the curriculum followed the standard policy of using English as the language of instruction for all classes and subjects. Students included in the 12 experiemental schools received classroom instruction in the mother tongue, Kom, in grades 1 and 2. In grade 3, all experimental school students were transitioned to the use of English as the language of instruction while the matching control schools continued to instruct students in English. 

The research outcomes indicate that the use of mother tongue in the 12 experimental schools resulted in significantly improved learning outcomes for the students in grades 1 and 2. This improvement however seems to drop dramatically around grade 3 when the experiemental school students were transitioned to classes that only used English as the medium for instruction. 

This report provides details of the project design, the research results, and several recommendations for continued improvement among the students in this region. Dr. Walter recently shared the presentation attached to this post at the All Children Reading Community of Practice event hosted by the Global Partnership for Education on July 24, 2012. (



Walter, S., & Chuo, K., (2012). The Kom Experimental Mother Tongue Education Pilot Project Report for 2012. Unpublished research report. Available from the authors or from SIL Cameroon.

KEPP MLE Project.pdf1.4 MB
The Kom MLE Project 2012.pdf936.37 KB

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