SA has 'moved away from Afrikaans-only language institutions/campuses' - Nzimande

2019-10-10 20:09
Stellenbosch University. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Stellenbosch University. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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South African universities have "… moved away from Afrikaans-only language institutions/campuses" and have instead embraced using English as the main language of instruction, according to Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande. 

He made the statement in reply to a question from Freedom Front Plus MP Wynand Boshoff who asked him whether it was the government's policy to permit a university campus to be predominantly Afrikaans speaking. 

In response, Nzimande said: "All South African universities are currently public higher education institutions which must be accessible to a wide range of diverse students.

"Within the South African context, universities have developed language policies in line with the policy on languages in higher education and have moved away from Afrikaans-only language institutions/campuses toward utilising English as the main language of instruction and at the same time fostering multilingual environments that include a range of other languages in terms of, for example, campus signage, social usage and formal usage at university arranged events.

"This move has been tested in the Constitutional Court and has been found to be in line with the Constitution. The government supports these language policy movements, however, it does not set the policy at the institutional level.

"An institution may implement a language policy that allows for dual mediums of instruction in terms of the policy. However, they may not implement policy that results in language being a barrier to access and success for students.

''Private higher education institutions must also uphold the Constitution and implement language policies that do not act as barriers to access and success," said Nzimande. 

News24 reported earlier that Stellenbosch University's adoption of its 2016 language policy was "constitutionally justified".

The Constitutional Court handed down judgment in favour of the university on Thursday, with Justice Johan Froneman saying the previous language policy had made people, who did not speak Afrikaans, feel excluded.

The court said the current policy was more inclusive. 

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  blade nzimande  |  education

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