New schools language plan

2012-01-25 00:00

AN African language policy for schools to ensure that every school offers an African language from grade one through to grade 12 is in the early stages of planning.

Terence Khala, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, could not say when the policy draft would be unveiled and made available for public consultation.

The department added that the idea was that it would carry the relevant costs for the policy to be implemented should it go through.

This year, many English Model C schools reportedly opted to drop African languages after a recent curriculum change required them to offer only one extra language to the first three grades instead of two.

Professor Russell Kaschula, head of the School of Languages at Rhodes University, supported the notion that an African language should be made compulsory. “A long-term plan for teaching in the mother tongue, whilst acquiring appropriate levels of English and then gradually transferring to English, must be put in place,” he said yesterday.

“The problem now is that from grade four, many learners simply do not have enough English understanding to learn the content subjects in English.

“Hence, the high drop-out rate when the very ill-informed switch is suddenly made,” said Kaschula.

South African Democratic Teachers’ Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the policy was way overdue.

“The promotion of African languages is a constitutional issue that is vital in restoring the dignity of our people which was degraded during the apartheid era,” he said.

“In China, pupils are taught in Chinese and they are developing both scientifically and technologically.”

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa spokesperson Anthony Pierce added that African languages must be given the respect they deserve.

Under the new curriculum implemented this year, grade one to three pupils are required to learn only one extra language. This means pupils at English-medium schools can usually choose between Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and other languages in addition to English.

Pan South African Language Board chairperson Professor Sihawu Ngubane criticised the trend of Afrikaans being chosen as an additional language rather than African languages.

Recently, the portfolio committee of the Department of Arts and Culture conducted public hearings on the proposed SA Language Bill.

Most submissions were in favour of pupils being taught in their mother-tongue for at least the first six years of their education.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.