From the Independent On-Line (South Africa)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Feb 25 14:49:02 UTC 2005

Exam papers may come in all languages
By Sheena Adams

A proposal to allow matric students to write their examinations in their
mother tongue is under consideration, Education Minister Naledi Pandor
said on Monday. She told journalists that the Council of Education
Ministers meeting had agreed to investigate the viability of permitting
students to write examinations in any one of the 11 official languages.
The minister said, however, that the administrative burden as a result of
the proposal would be huge.

"I think it's a bit of a tough call but we can't say we are going to deny
pupils their rights. It will be a huge administrative demand if we act on
it," she said. Provincial MECs said there was a great demand from pupils
to write in their home language and many students had complained that
writing in English put them at a distinct disadvantage.

Currently, all past papers were available in all 11 official languages and
Pandor said the department would look at what other requirements were
needed in order to print examination papers in all the languages.
Other intervention strategies with regards to matric examinations
discussed at the meeting include conducting "intensive" evaluation of
schools that performed below the 50 percent pass rate.

She said ministers had agreed to strengthen English second language as a
language of teaching and learning.

Pandor also called for universities to "have empathy for the plight of
poor students" in the light of recent protests against fee increases.

She suggested that government would look at the possibility of increasing
subsidies to higher education institutions.

Violent protests erupted at the University of Pretoria's Mamelodi campus
and the Tshwane University of Technology last week.

Pandor said universities needed to take into account the resources
available to poor students when increasing fees every year. - Political

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Pretoria News on
February 22, 2005

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