KZN pupils tackling vernacular languages

2011-11-08 00:00

SEVERAL Kwazulu-Natal matric pupils are embracing cultural diversity — 41 of the province’s 127 044 full-time matric candidates will write Sesotho home language paper one today, while 2 692 tackle isiXhosa home language and 84 isiXhosa first additional language.

Other languages are less popular, with six sitting for siSwati first additional language and 55 writing siSwati home language. No candidates are registered to write Sepedi, Tshivenda or Setswana.

KZN Education Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said the fact that there are candidates registered for these languages shows that they are in demand.

“The department has put in place necessary support measures, including recruiting educators to teach these subjects.

“In terms of the South African Schools Act of 1996 the choice of the language offering, be it home, first or second additional, is made at school level with the school governing body and the community.

“This decision is based on the needs of the community and the learner population … the language offering is also determined by the number of learners enrolling for the language.”

The language-in-education policy aims to promote multilingualism, the development of the official languages and respect for all languages used in South Africa.

Pan South African Language Board chairperson Professor Sihawukele Ngubane said the Basic Education Department has accommodated the teaching of African languages although the system faces many challenges.

“Where this exercise is unsuccessful you always find a situation where African pupils are more fluent than the educator in the home language. The department must embark on a campaign to recruit more educators who have passion for teaching in the mother tongue,” said Ngubane.

• thandiwe.jumo@witness.co.za

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