Voice views on language policy

2013-11-14 00:00

THE public has until February to voice its opinions on the compulsory teaching of an African language to pupils in public schools from next year.

The Department of Basic of Education is looking at implementing the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) policy.

The Witness reported in the past months the department’s initial intention for compulsory teaching of an African language to all Grade R and Grade 1 pupils in public schools from next year. However, upon review, the department said the original plan would be replaced by a pilot phase — when Minister Angie Motshekga announced that only 10 schools per district will teach an African language in each province.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga yesterday said the implementation of the IIAL will commence in 2015 in Grade 1 and will be introduced incrementally until 2026, when it will be introduced in Grade 12.

According to Mhlanga, only Grade 1 classes will be part of the pilot phase and not Grade Rs, as was indicated earlier. “The pilot [phase] will inform the feasibility of the extended school day, teacher provisioning models and support, and resources to support teaching and learning,” Mhlanga said.

“The [department] values the constructive comments of the public and wishes to encourage all stakeholders and interested parties to make their comments.”

Although major teachers’ unions and school governing bodies have cautiously welcomed the department’s efforts to improve indigenous language teaching, there have been concerns about the financial implications, possibly lengthening of a typical school day and finding additional teaching staff.

The deadline for public comments is February 12 next year. Submissions can be made via e-mail at govender.z

@dbe.gov.za or fax at 012 323 0069 or post at Private Bag 895, Pretoria, 0001.

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