Northern Cape parents win language case

2014-04-25 18:23


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Johannesburg - A bid by an Upington primary school's governing body to keep English as the medium of instruction was declared invalid by the Northern Cape High Court on Friday.

Section27 attorney Nikki Stein said 98% of the 1 224 pupils at the Vela Langa Primary School spoke Afrikaans, Setswana or IsiXhosa as their home language, and that only one pupil spoke English as a home language.

The governing body's policy, implemented in March 2013, introduced English as the medium of instruction from Grade R to Grade 7.

Stein said previously there was at least one class in each grade where children were educated in their home language.

The court application was brought by community-based organisation Siamisa Motheo/Maak Die Fondasie Reg/Lungisa Umgangatho. It comprises teachers, parents, and concerned residents, including 47 parents of pupils in the primary school.

The organisation argued that the policy ran counter to the provisions of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to basic education and the right to choose the language of instruction.

The court declared the governing body in breach of its duty to promote the best interests of the school and ordered it to consult with parents and affected residents at least one month before a new language policy.

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