South Africa: dual-language policy at UKZN (2 messages)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Aug 12 15:46:11 UTC 2006

(2) UKZN clarifies dual-language policy

By Amelia Naidoo

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) moved on Thursday to allay the
fears of anxious parents of students about its newly finalised bilingual
language policy. UKZN spokesperson Prof Dasarath Chetty said parents and
other stakeholders had misunderstandings about the language policy. He
said the university was not going to get rid of English and that it would
remain the primary medium of instruction. However, isiZulu would develop
alongside it as a medium of instruction.

The head of the School of Language, Literacies, Media and Drama Education,
Prof Robert Balfour, said the university did not intend to make isiZulu a
medium of instruction without consulting academics and stakeholders. The
university said "the policy did not advocate dual-medium instruction in
isiZulu and English, given the enormous workload and resource implications
this would have for teaching". There was no intention to implement the
policy in a "drastic fashion" over a short period of time.

amelia.naidoo at
(2) isiZulu at UKZN to cut failures

By Bhavna Sookha

In what is being called a milestone in transformation at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal, a new language policy will soon be implemented which will
see the university becoming a bilingual institution. English, together
with isiZulu, will become the languages of instruction at the university
from 2008, when the first phase of the language policy plan is
implemented. The plan, passed at Senate level, was announced earlier this
month and met with much unease by current English-speaking students and
their parents.  But university officials say concerned students need not
worry as UKZN would not be getting rid of English, but rather developing
isiZulu as a language of instruction alongside English.

English would remain the primary language of instruction. Prof Robert
Balfour, head of the school of language, literacies, media and drama
education, said the move was in keeping with the language policy for
higher education introduced in 2002. Deputy Dean of Humanities Prof Sihawu
Ngubane said they were hoping the introduction of isiZulu as a medium of
instruction would also bring down the institution's failure rate.

"Introducing isiZulu will enable students who are not first language
English speakers to express themselves and afford them the opportunity to
write their exams and assignments in their own language," he said. He said
isiZulu was the language spoken by most people in the country and was
first language to some 23% of 'the population. The first phase of the
language policy plan will be implemented from 2008 and will run until
2018. The second phase will start in 2019 and span a 10-year period until

Published on the web by Daily News on August 11, 2006.


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