South Africa: Pandor focuses on indigenous languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Oct 6 12:39:19 UTC 2006

Pandor focuses on indigenous languages

Pretoria, South Africa
05 October 2006 06:57

South Africa has a long way to go in having indigenous languages
recognised as a medium of instruction, Minister of Education Naledi Pandor
said in Pretoria on Thursday. "The ministerial committee reported a
startling but not surprising finding that the future of African languages
as a medium of instruction is bleak if nothing is done immediately," she
told a conference at the University of South Africa. She was speaking at
the Language Policy and Implementation in Higher Education Institution

The ministerial committee was appointed to provide advice for the
development and use of African indigenous languages. She said the Language
in Education Policy and the Language Policy for Higher Education were
designed to promote multilingualism in education. "The state must take
practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use
of the indigenous languages." Some institutions, like the University of
the KwaZulu-Natal, have already adopted the Language Policy of Higher
Institutions and revised their language policy to align with the national

The department came up with a plan of intervention to implement the
language policy. Pandor said the plan will focus on including a national
six-year mother tongue education programme aimed at using pupils' home
languages as medium of instruction in the foundation and intermediate
phase; a national general and further education second language programme;
and launching a vigorous information and advocacy programme aimed at
assisting parents and children to make informed language decisions. She
said the department was aware that the interventions are not enough to
address the challenge faced. The conference was attended by language
lecturers and practitioners from higher education institutions from South
Africa. "I hope that by the end of this conference you [people at the
conference] will be able to make some suggestions as to how we can move
faster towards creating and consolidating a multilingual environment at
our higher education institutions," Pandor said. -- Sapa


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