Swaziland: Govt. wants siSwati language developed

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri Dec 8 13:11:42 UTC 2006

Govt. wants siSwati language developed

Stories by Spholesihle Dlamini

MINISTER of Education Themba Msibi has said it is governments utmost aim
and responsibility to ensure that the mother tongue -siSwati - is
adequately developed in the country.

The minister said the country needed a transparent public discussion on
language policy with the aim of developing guidelines for a national
language policy. He requested all parties involved to view the development
of siSwati as a moral obligation to the entire Swazi nation.

He said dialogue between key stakeholders in language policy; politicians,
journalists, researchers, administrators, educators and users of language
services was a prerequisite for a more informed policy formation. Msibi
was speaking through Chief Inspector of Secondary Schools Bethwell Ndlovu
during the Language Policy Workshop held at Esibayeni Lodge, yesterday.
The workshop was aimed at creating a framework for the language policy to
be soon established by government. It is necessary to set up forums, such
as this one, in which as many players as possible should participate, he

However, to his contrary, the participants of the workshop were mainly
from the education ministry, with few media practitioners and other
sectors not represented at all. Msibi said in the Imbokodvo Movement
National Manifesto, governments policy stated categorically clear that
siSwati and English would be the two official languages used and taught in
Swaziland. The minister said the African continent was confronted with
serious issues of illiteracy and poverty.

Swaziland is faced with the responsibility of finding lasting solutions to
such issues, thus, as a country, we need to understand the importance of
indigenous languages as tools for communication and socio-economic
progress and their fundamental relevance to the learning process, said
Msibi. It is true to say that there is a widespread crisis in relation to
childrens initial learning - far too many children leave primary school
without having incorporated the practices of using language in printed as
opposed to oral - form into their daily activities. It is being
increasingly recognised that the difficulties posed by inappropriate
language usage are having negative effects on various aspects of life, he

In order to achieve the National Language Policy, the minister said there
was a need for qualified personnel with expertise in all aspects of
language policy to assist us in integrating language policies in commerce,
culture, education, research, the media and other sectors. Msibi said:
There should be urgent development of programmes in the currently
neglected language fields. An in-depth analysis of the relationship
between economic policies and language as well as the extent to which the
education system is able to respond to the changing needs of the society.
He added that the language policy should be elaborate and inclusive of all
Swazi citizens including those with special needs, mentioning that Sign
Language should be one of the official languages in the country.



N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list