South Africa: Concern at Stellenbosch varsity Afrikaans plans

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Oct 27 16:00:17 UTC 2007

    [image: SABC News Online]

     Concern at Stellenbosch varsity Afrikaans plans
 October 26, 2007, 17:15
      Alumni at the University of Stellenbosch say a new proposed language
policy places Afrikaans in a very precarious state at the institution. They
say the university, which should be committed to transformation, is in fact
more and more benefiting one of the more affluent sectors of society. The
new proposals have been met with huge opposition.

The new policy proposes that each department is decentralised and should be
able to choose which language it wants to be instructed in. "I think this is
a recipe for chaos..." says Hermann Giliomee, a professor at the university.
He says the new proposals don't give clarity as to what the language
situation at the institution should be. Giliomee says that while more and
more white affluent English speakers are being attracted to the institution,
the University is missing its true calling of attracting underprivileged
Afrikaans speakers from all backgrounds. He says the phasing out of
Afrikaans at this level will have wider, long-term effects on the language.

The Language Review Group, which drew up the proposals, say their work was
done within the context of the vision statement of the University. It says
the University wants to promote Afrikaans as a scientific and academic
language and that the language has a special place at the University. The
group says a window is still open till November 1 for parties wanting to add
their comments or submissions.

The draft is currently with the vice-rector for teaching who will review it
and present it to Senate. A decision will only be taken at a later stage.
But the group insists that fears that Afrikaans is being wiped out at the
University are baseless.

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