English Language in a Tanzanian University

Amaka Edith Ideh


The dominance of Kiswahili in Tanzania limits the use of English and its proficiency to citizens who wish to interact with the wider world where English enjoys a special and widespread usage. Though the Tanzania language policy with regard to teaching and learning in post-primary schools favours English, proficiency in English is still far from being a reality. Most university students in Tanzania experience unusual difficulty in communication (especially first year students) due to their background with the use of English as the medium of instruction. This paper highlights the problems encountered by learners of English at a Tanzanian university and presents the results of a study conducted at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, which assessed if the students’ poor communication in English reflects in their writing. The study focussed on first-year students from four different Departments studying for the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Science in Procurement and Chain Management (BSCP), Bachelor of Arts in Economics (BAEC) and Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management (BSCT). The participated students were given a topic to write within a period of 60 minutes; afterwards, all grammatical errors identified in the essays were classified and analysed. The analysis of the errors provided feedback to the researcher on the level of writing skills of first year students of the University. 

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