Have your say on African languages in schools

2013-11-13 13:05

The department of basic education (DBE) is calling on the public to comment on its intention to compel all schools to start teaching an African language as a first additional language.

The department will pilot the initiative in selected Grade 1 classes next year, and hopes to implement it incrementally from Grade 1 in 2015 to Grade 12 in 2026.

Through the initiative, the department will force all schools to teach at least one African language as a first additional language, meaning it will become compulsory for all pupils to take an African language up to Grade 12.

The department’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, said: “The DBE values the constructive comments of the public and wishes to encourage all stakeholders and interested parties to make their comments which will serve to inform the implementation of the policy.”

The Constitution, he said, calls for the state to take practical and positive steps and measures to promote previously marginalised languages.

“The National Development Plan requires all South Africans to learn at least one indigenous language as part of nation-building and social cohesion. To make concrete this noble intention, the [DBE] conducted an investigation on how best this can be done. The investigation recommended the offering of indigenous languages be made compulsory to all learners in all public schools,” he said.

Mhlanga said, after doing its homework, the department had decided to implement the policy in order to promote social cohesion and nation-building.

“The pilot will inform the feasibility of the extended school day (to accommodate the subject); teacher provisioning models (to ensure a sufficient number of teachers with the right skills are in place) and support; and resources to support teaching and learning,” he said.

» The deadline for comment is February 12 2014. Submissions can be made via email to publiccomments@dbe.gov.za or faxed to (012) 000 0000 or by post to Private Bag 895, Pretoria, 0001

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