Dual-medium teaching not yet fully possible - Stellenbosch University

2015-09-21 22:10
Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

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Johannesburg – It was practically not possible for Stellenbosch University to offer parallel English and Afrikaans teaching in all lectures from January next year.

The constraints of lecturer availability, classrooms, and timetables, meant that only the most popular modules would be considered for conversion to parallel-medium teaching in 2016, Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel, vice-rector: learning and teaching, said in a statement on Monday.

He was commenting following the release of the report by the university’s language policy task team to the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and Open Stellenbosch (OS). The team’s role had been to make recommendations on the university’s language policy and the implementation of its language plan.

The SRC and OS had largely focused their demands on parallel-medium teaching.

Before 2020, the multilingual offering had to be increased.

"It should be made explicit that Afrikaans may not be used or experienced as a mechanism to exclude anyone from this university," was one factor the task team had to consider, Schoonwinkel said.

The team recommended that iXhosa should continue to be developed as an academic language. This was in response to the claims that the university's investment in this language was merely a front for multilingualism.

Students had to stop thinking of lectures as a place where knowledge was transferred, but rather as a means to help them learn.

According to this new model, it was possible to offer "learning facilitation" in each student’s language of choice, without teaching them every concept in either Afrikaans or English.

This was meant to address students’ fears that they would lose out if not all lectures were in their preferred language.

A total of 74% of students who used the interpreting service agreed that it helped their understanding of the work, according to a survey. The team recommended an investigation into improving this service.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  stellenbosch  |  universities

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