Monolingual Schools in Multilingual Societies: An Exploration of Language and Education in Cape Verde

Cidade Velha, Cape Verde
Image: Cidade Velha, Cape Verde


The Monolingual Schools in Multilingual Societies project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Liverpool; the University of La Coruña (Spain) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Portugal). The project is led by Dr Nicola Bermingham (Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool).

The Project

Cape Verde is an archipelago made up of ten islands, nine of which are inhabited. With a population of just over half a million people, Cape Verde is classified by the United Nations as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). The Cape Verdean Ministry of Education report progress in the field of basic education stemming from the educational reform that took place during the 1990s. However, the geographic fragmentation of the archipelago and the urban/rural divide means that learning conditions vary considerably from one island to another. Central to this particular study is the use of language in the Cape Verdean education system.

Taking a sociolinguistic approach, the project explores the ways in which language underpins disparities in educational outcomes in Cape Verde. The project engages with the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) strategy and challenge area of addressing Equitable Access to Sustainable Development and addresses UN Sustainable Development Goal number 4 which works towards obtaining quality education.

The project draws on a range of expertise from scholars working across disciplinary contexts including Sociology, Anthropology, Linguistics and Education.


Work on this project first started in September 2018 with ODA (Official Development Assistance) Research Seed funding.