Report on indigenous African languages for use in higher education
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Mar 16 15:03:10 UTC 2005
Pandor Receives Report On Indigenous Languages
March 15, 2005
Posted to the web March 15, 2005
By Mahlatsi Mgidi
Education Minister Naledi Pandor has received a framework report on the
development of indigenous African languages for use in higher education.
The report was put together by specialists in higher education and was led
by Professor Njabulo Ndebele, the Vice Chancellor of the University of
Cape Town. When conducting research, the team looked at the country's
historical and legislative contexts that nurtured language growth.
Departmental spokesperson Tommy Makhode said the language policy for
higher education promulgated in November 2002 was committed to the
long-term development of indigenous African languages as mediums of
teaching and learning. He explained that the report expressed a view that
"a crisis is looming in the country regarding the preservation,
maintenance and associated identity of indigenous African languages.
"The anticipated crisis is attributed to the preference for English
instead of African languages in formal communication in the private and
public sectors as well as in general social practice." The report also
points to the declining numbers of students who wish to study African
languages, which has resulted in the closing down of African language
departments in a number of higher education institutions.
The report has since recommended the establishment of "a well-coordinated,
long-range national plan to provide adequate resources and support for
indigenous African languages" to prevent further decline of indigenous
languages. This could be achieved if the Pan South African Language Board
(PanSALB) and the Department of Arts and Culture's National Language
Services (NLS) were supported, maintained and monitored.
"The report makes a point that the objective to develop official
indigenous languages as mediums of instruction in higher education
requires systemic under girding by the entire schooling system and the
enhanced public and social use of these languages in the daily lives of
South Africans," Mr Makhode explained further. The report will be
available on the department's website after the minister had analysed it.
Meanwhile, the department has received a R150 million donation from the
European Union for Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) that
will be implemented over the next four years starting this year. HEAIDS is
the higher education sector's response to HIV and AIDS designed to enable
institutions to prevent and manage the pandemic.
The programme will support learning and knowledge development and will
among other things ensure the institutions addressed the pandemic and that
teacher education faculties and personnel departments identified their
roles in the fight against the disease. The programme will also help with
initiatives aimed at prevention, behavioural change, care and support,
gender, curriculum integration, knowledge generation in the sector and the
population as a whole.
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