South Africa: Schools governing bodies infringing learners language rights: PanSALB

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Mar 14 13:11:21 UTC 2007

Schools governing bodies infringing learners language rights: PanSALB

PARLIAMENT The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has accused
former model C schools governing bodies of being a stumbling block in the
advancement of indigenous languages in the country. Briefing Parliaments
Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on Tuesday PanSALB chief executive
Ntombenhle Nkosi said the governing bodies were compelling African
learners to drop their own languages.  African learners where being forced
to learn in English and Afrikaans, she said.

Even in cases where English and Afrikaans speaking learners are a
minority, school governing bodies still impose these languages on all the
learners. They enforce English and Afrikaans, and in the process deny
African learners the right to be taught in their mother tongue, she said.
Nkosi dismissed views suggesting that a majority of African learners
preferred to be taught in English rather than in their own mother tongue.
How could you say they dont want to be taught in their mother tongue if
they are not being given an option to choose, she said. Nkosis accusations
comes at a time when schools governing bodies right to determine language
policy was being challenged.

Last Month the Mpumalanga education department axed the Horskool (High
School) Ermelo school governing body after it had refused to admit English
speaking learners in the school.  The governing body had refused to admit
them on the basis that a majority of learners at the school were Afrikaans
speaking and that bringing English speaking learners would therefore
create difficulties,1,22


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