Dr Jean Josephine Chavula
Centre for Language Studies,
Chancellor College, University of Malawi
Jean Josephine Chavula is a trained linguist. She is currently the Acting Director for the Centre for Language Studies, University of Malawi.
She graduated with a BA Humanities, majoring in African Languages and Linguistics, in 2002 from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. In 2008, she obtained a Master of Arts in Theoretical Linguistics from University of Malawi, Chancellor College. She enrolled for a PhD in Linguistics at Leiden University in The Netherlands and graduated in May 2016.
This is the sixteenth year since she joined the Centre as a Chitumbuka Language Specialist. Since 2010, Jean is also involved in teaching and supervising undergraduate and Masters students in the department of African Languages and Linguistics at Chancellor College.
At the Centre she has been involved in several projects and advocacy activities. The Language Across the Curriculum project demonstrated the benefits of using local languages as a media of instruction. The Malawi breakthrough to literacy, Timawerenga and the Malawi Early Grade Reading projects have also emphasised the benefits of using local languages in education.
Working as a team, Jean and other language specialists at the Centre have used every available opportunity to sensitize Malawians on the benefits of local languages in education and national development. For instance, apart from sensitisation workshops, the team also engaged native speakers on the importance of local languages in education and national development during the language mapping survey and the Role of local languages in disseminating HIV information survey data collection fieldworks.
She has also been involved in developing orthographies of local languages and compiling monolingual dictionaries which could be handy if the government were to consider local languages in education. Her involvement in teaching, material development and advocacy have centred around promoting the development and use of local languages.