Western Cape education department to make Xhosa compulsory

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Aug 15 13:19:16 UTC 2005


 Cape moves to make Xhosa compulsory
    Igsaan Salie
    August 14 2005 at 04:38PM

The Western Cape education department will take the first steps towards
making Xhosa compulsory in all schools across the province from the
beginning of next year.  Education MEC Cameron Dugmore told Sunday Argus
he was confident that an implementation plan would be in place by the end
of October and the first schools would start teaching the language next

At a Language in Education Policy Summit this week, Dugmore said the move
followed national minister Naledi Pandor's call for all pupils to study an
indigenous language. Dugmore said the implementation of the plan to make
the language compulsory would be a slow process and the number of teachers
would have to be increased.


Two key aspects would be investigated. Learners would be taught in their
mother tongue and learn English from Grade R to six.

"The second area sees an introduction of a third language in the
curriculum probably during the senior phase of schooling which is grades
seven to nine.

"For example Xhosa-speaking learners would have the option of learning
Afrikaans and English-speaking learners would be able to learn Xhosa."

The issue of text books and reading material would also be addressed in
the coming months, and he proposed creating "language lobby groups" by
partnering with the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape in an attempt to create
a big enough demand to interest publishers.

A task team would be formed at the end of the month to discuss the plan
and Dugmore estimated that by December the province would adopt a
language-in-education policy.

Xhosa teachers would be needed across the province and Dugmore said
"direct engagement with tertiary education institutions will be crucial"
to ensure that there would be employable Xhosa teachers available in the
coming years.

Welcoming the announcement as "long overdue", Don Pasquallie of the South
African Democratic Teachers' Union said unions and parents still needed to
be consulted.

Paul Colditz, national chairperson of the Federation of Governing Bodies
of South African Schools, expressed concern about making a specific
language compulsory. He said learners should be given the choice of what
language to study rather than a particular language be specified.

"By making a particular language compulsory we are moving back to 1976,"
Colditz said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Sunday Argus on August
14, 2005

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