Govt must address language challenge at universities – Radebe

Johannesburg – Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the Department of Higher Education and Training has to tackle language issues at the various universities.

"We have 11 official languages and everyone should be able to speak their language at the university," Radebe said on Thursday.

"It is important for the Department of Higher Education to respond to the ever-growing challenges that are still being faced at the universities," he said.

Student organisations at some of the country's institutions of higher learning have called for the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. The protests have, at times, turned violent and resulted in the institutions closing down for day.

Radebe said it was important for the language issue to be addressed, adding that government was doing its best to ensure people of all races had access to higher education.

He said that would go a long way in ensuring all languages are represented at universities.

"What is very pleasing is that government is pumping a lot of money in higher education. In 1999 we used to spend about R441 million per annum in giving assistance to people to go to university," he said.

"Today we spend about R9.2 billion indicating that we are putting our money where our mouth is."

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