Agriculture students demand to be taught in English

2015-08-13 21:14
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Johannesburg - Students interrupted classes at the Elsenburg Agricultural College, near Stellenbosch, on Thursday, in protest against its language policy.

“We want English only,” Student Representative Council (SRC) chairperson Sabelo Ngcobo said.

He said the college was giving priority to Afrikaans, in which case it should implement the Western Cape government’s language policy and teach in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa. The college fell under the Western Cape agriculture department. 

According to Ngcobo, about 80% of the students were white and Afrikaans speaking.

It currently had a dual English/Afrikaans language policy, but Ngcobo said Afrikaans was getting priority.

"Their Afrikaans privilege is blocking us. We are made to feel that we are beggars at Elsenburg."

AfriForum Youth said it was concerned that the college failed to act against the illegal protest. It would turn to the courts should the institution fail to act by Monday, its national chairperson, Henk Maree, said in a statement.

Ngcobo said there would be no teaching on Friday.

Students met Western Cape Agriculture MEC Alan Winde on Thursday. It was decided that the CCMA would on Monday start mediation efforts between the parties involved.

"While this process is unfolding, we want... full access, we want English," Ngcobo said.

Another student, Simphiwe Ntuza, said: "We just want English as the medium of instruction. If they want Afrikaans, they must put Xhosa also."

Afriforum Youth wanted the college to take disciplinary action against the protesters, and to expel Ngcobo and other SRC members involved in the disruption.

"We cannot stand by and watch while a small group of radicals determines the college’s agenda," Maree said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  protests

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