South Africa: College language policy makes mother see red

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Jan 17 13:41:43 UTC 2007

College language policy makes mother see red

A Mpumalanga teacher is suing the Lowveld Agricultural College for R80 000
because it stopped teaching in Afrikaans, according to news reports on
Tuesday. Barberton teacher Marietjie Pienaar said the college was not
adhering to its advertised language policy. In protest against the change
in policy and the handling of the matter by authorities, Pienaar withdrew
her son Harold from the college last year, while he was in his second
year. Harold, 23, wanted to specialise in irrigation. Pienaar is
attempting to recover his tuition and boarding fees as well as other

According to the institution's brochure all classes were offered
separately in Afrikaans and English. Pienaar said little Afrikaans was
spoken in classes and that most lecturers could not speak it. News reports
quoted Pienaar as saying that the college's authorities had been
indifferent to her attempts to bring the matter to their attention. She
said it was a pity the college had changed its policy as it was one of the
few institutions that specialised in irrigation. College head George Xaba
declined to comment.


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