Cost-benefits of
Multilingual Education
Economics of effective language models
Kathleen Heugh
University of South Australia
November 2013
Which costs & benefits count?
• Use of Languages
which teachers or
learners do not know
well
• Inputs: short, medium,
long term
• Additional costs
• Use of Local
Languages / MTs in
Education
• Outputs: medium and
long term
• Benefits, returns
Additional costs are usually much
less than expected
Projected costs for:
• The multilingual
education policy in
South Africa
• Expect between 5-10
% more on cost of
books and teacher
education
(Vawda & Patrinos 1999)
National Education:
• 0,11 % of National
Budget over 3 years
(Cole 2005)
Provincial Departments:
• 0,3 - 0,6% over 5 years
(Cole 2005)
This is only 0,7% more
for the whole S African
education budget
Cost Recovery
1. Even if the initial cost is 5% more - this is
likely to be recovered in 5-7 years (Grin 2005)
2. Savings:
a. Lower repeater rate (short term)
b. Lower drop-out rate (medium – long term)
c. Initial cost decreases after 5-7 years
What is the cost of (not) investing in
local languages?
Social and Development Impact:
1. Consequences of failure of health, education
issues, & disgruntled youth; vs.
2. Consequences of successful education (e.g. Obanya
2004)
Education Impact:
1. Higher through-rate for Primary Education =
2. Higher General Enrolment in Secondary Education
Economic Impact:
1. Longer students in school =
2. Higher potential earnings=
3. Higher potential taxes to the state; etc.
Costing Language Models and Teacher
Education
Early-exit from
MT medium
100% teachers, Gr 4-12
Upgrade L2 proficiency
Late-exit from
MT medium
75% teachers, Gr 4-12
Upgrade L2 proficiency
Strong Bilingual MT +
Additional Language/L2
50% teachers, Gr 4-12
Upgrade L2 proficiency
100% language (L2)
teaching methodology
25% language L1/ MT & 50% language L1/ MT &
75% language L2
50% language L2
teaching methodology
teaching methodology
100% content subject
pedagogy development
100% content subject
100% content subject
pedagogy development pedagogy development
Cost
High
Value
Cost
Value
Cost
Value
Low
Medium
Medium
Low
High
Cost savings – increased efficiency of
teacher education programmes, include:
o(Introduction to) First and second language acquisition theory
including how children become literate and effective readers and
writers (applicable to planners across the curriculum)
oLanguage education policy, models and outcomes
oBilingual / multilingual teaching principles & methodology
oIntroduction to the process of developing of terminology &
orthography in local languages
oParticipatory (community involvement) approaches
e.g. to education policy and planning
oEducation planning advocacy
oCost-benefit approaches of medium to long-term planning
for educational success vs. short-term planning to protect careers
Comparing Costs
WHAT
1.
Language in Education
Policy
2.
Plan
3.
Public Support
4.
Language Technology:
terminology
5.
Translation technology
6.
Translation Units
7.
Dictionaries
8.
Multilingual materials
9.
Teacher Training
10. TOTAL: Max. 1%
SAME or MORE?
1. Same
2.
3.
4.
Minimal
Same as any govt. policy
Inexpensive replicable,
electronically accessible
5. Fast and Reduces costs
6. Employment & econ.
Benefits
7. Overheads streamlined
8. Minimal additional costs
9. Lower costs
10. TOTAL: Recoverable and
reduces overall
expenditure
Conclusion
Inputs: short, medium, long term
Outputs: medium and long term
Benefits: social, economic and development – medium to long term
(Cole 2005)
Finally:
 No evidence that early-exit to the international language: works or is
cheaper
 There is evidence that L1/MT/Local Language education is costeffective and beneficial for social development
Recommendations
1.
Cost budget implications of different options over 5-10 years
[i.e. initial additional costs, recurrent costs, cost recovery, return
on investment].
2.
Ensure that economists have necessary information regarding
literacy and language development in education.
3.
Develop a 10-point Language Education Plan for each country.
4.
Adjust education budget & identify domestic and international
sources for initial investment.
5.
Involve civil society in the social, educational and economic
costs and benefits of different models.
6.
Engage in bilateral or multilateral co-operation with
neighbouring countries.
7.
Limit costs: maximise available expertise in the region and
about local languages and literacy development.
8.
Plan to recover costs and see benefits in 5-10 years.
References
Cole, P. 2005. The economics of language in education policy in South
Africa. In Alexander, N (ed). Mother tongue-based bilingual education in
Southern Africa. The dynamics of implementation, 26-44. Cape Town:
Multilingualism Network & PRAESA, University of Cape Town.
Grin, F. 2005. The economics of language policy implementation:
identifying and measuring costs. In Alexander, N (ed). Mother tonguebased bilingual education in Southern Africa. The dynamics of
implementation, 11-25. Cape Town: Multilingualism Network &
PRAESA, University of Cape Town.
Heugh, K. 2011. Cost implications of the provision of mother-tongue
and strong bilingual models of education in Africa. In Ouane, A. and
Glanz, C. (eds). Optimising learning, education and publishing in Africa:
The language factor. A review and analysis of theory and practice in
mother-tongue and bilingual education in sub-Saharan Africa, 255-289.
Hamburg and Tunis Belvédère: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
(UIL) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa
(ADEA)/African Development Bank. (Also in French)
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002126/212602e.pdf
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Cost-benefits of Multilingual Education