African languages neglected in education

African languages are being neglected in education, as English is still dominant, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said today.

“No one should be leaving a university or college in the country without learning an African language,” he said at a discussion on African languages at Unisa in Pretoria.

South African youth were showing less and less interest in their own languages. The development of languages was not a “nice-to-have”, but a necessity for human rights and dignity, as well as for the preservation of culture.

He highlighted that an overwhelming majority of people spoke African languages, but that this was not reflected in the education system.

Languages such as English acted as “political, military, cultural, symbolic powers of rule”.

“Many African countries have struggled to preserve African languages.”

Nzimande admitted funding for the teaching of African languages was a problem, but from now on this would be made a priority.

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