This study investigates the challenges that face learners who speak only Afaan Oromoo, and use Amharic as the language of learning and teaching LoLT in selected schools Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It examines the current teaching strategies used by teachers of multilingual classes to assist learners who speak languages other than Amharic. The study also explores how mother tongue based multilingual education serves the interest of immigrant learners whose primary language is not Amharic. It analyses the possibility of the language-in-education policy in Addis Ababa to implement new policies that would introduce Afaan Oromoo or any other languages as LoLT in these selected schools in Addis Ababa.
To capture the policy, problems, and strategies of mother tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) in Addis Ababa, this research has been designed as a case study. The author/researcher used the “mixed research designs”, or rather the quan-qual approach with four different measuring instruments for data collection, namely semi-structured interviews; questionnaires; classroom observations and focus-group discussions. Data collected from administrators at education administration offices, learners, teachers, and parents of learners at the Marie and Cheffie primary schools were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively to answer the research questions.
Major findings from this study reveal that using Amharic as the only LoLT in selected schools in Addis Ababa prevents learners who speak languages other than Amharic from developing psychologically, socially, and cognitively. Emerging from the study is that current teaching strategies used in multilingual classes in Addis Ababa do not facilitate the learning of Amharic and its use as a LoLT at the same time. The research moreover indicates that the government needs to develop and deploy strategies for training present and incoming teachers on how to teach and manage multilingual classes. By focusing on practices in Addis Ababa, this study further contributes to the area of inclusive education by identifying the gap in the manner in which MTB-MLE has been implemented in Ethiopia.