Zulu will be a compulsory course for all first-year students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from next year.
The new policy would apply to all undergraduates, regardless of their programmes, and would be a first for the South African higher-education sector, the Mercury reported today.
“At a university where more than 60% of students are Zulu speaking, the institution has an obligation to ensure linguistic choices result in effective learning solutions,” deputy vice-chancellor Professor Renuka Vithal was quoted as saying by The Mercury.
“Additionally, in a country that continues to be divided on the basis of linguistic identities, languages should serve to bring diverse learning communities together and promote social cohesion,” said Vithal.
Staff and students would reportedly sit an exam after the one-semester course, during which they would learn enough Zulu for verbal academic interaction. The course would run from 2014 to 2018.
Vithal told The Mercury staff and students had asked that the course be extended to all degrees at undergraduate level.