Open Stellenbosch disappointed at council's stance on language policy

Johannesburg - Student movement Open Stellenbosch has described the university council's decision on the proposed language policy as a blatant rejection towards any transformation at the institution.

Khule Duma, a member of Open Stellenbosch, said the reason why students had called for a change in the institution's language policy was because black students were failing as a result of their struggles with Afrikaans, the university's main language of instruction.

"The reason why we called for an end to this language policy was because it was limiting black students from partaking [in academic activities] because they could not understand what was being said in class.

"It is apparent that council has rejected any chance for the university to move forward [and of] fast tracking transformation."

Earlier on Monday night, the university's council released a statement saying language should never be an obstacle for any student pursuing studies at the university who had no command of either Afrikaans or English.

"Thus council requests management to expand the necessary mechanisms to this end, and to monitor these continuously.

"If this should imply that the English academic offering exceeds the set target, it will be supported by council."

However, council said these changes should not be to the detriment of the institution's Afrikaans offering.

"Council requests that the Afrikaans undergraduate academic offering should also be increased. Council confirms that its multilingual academic offering is considered a strategic asset of SU that should be expanded as a competitive advantage," it said.

Duma said the fact that council had committed to sticking to the proposed language policy from November 2014, and the fact that it wanted to increase its Afrikaans classes was a blatant rejection of any opportunities of progress by the institution.

"They have rejected that as council...and kept Stellenbosch as an exclusionary university.

"What we said from the start is we want a new language policy. The language policy at the university needs to change completely to ensure that the gains made [weren't wasted]."



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