South Africa: Durban school changed policy after complaint.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Jul 25 14:32:22 UTC 2008


 *Durban school changed policy after complaint.*

A Durban school accused of teaching a boy "kitchen Zulu" changed its
language policy after the child's mother complained, the Durban Equality
Court heard on Thursday.

Principal of Durban High School (DHS) David Magner told the court that the
complaint by Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb) chief executive
Ntombenhle Nkosi, was a "catalyst".

It led to a series of meetings among language staff and the eventual hiring
of a new teacher to ensure that grades eight and nine were taught Zulu at
the same level that Afrikaans was being offered.

Nkosi was arguing that her son, who attended Durban High in 2007, was being
discriminated against because he was being taught sub-standard Zulu.

  *'I don't think that we have had a failure that I can remember'*

Magner said that the extra teacher hired was paid for out of the school's
budget and not by the KwaZulu-Natal education department.

He said that of the school's 66 teachers, the state only paid the salaries
of 32.

The school has an enrolment of about 950, of which about 85 percent had
English as their home language.

Of the three Zulu language teachers employed at DHS, the education
department only paid for the salary of one. Magner said the school governing
body paid for the salaries of the other two.

Magner told the court that 50 percent of the pupils who continued taking
Zulu after grade nine achieved A's in their matric examinations.

  *Nkosi testified and claimed that DHS was 'promoting the subjugation of
indigenous languages'*

"I don't think that we have had a failure that I can remember. Over 50
percent who wrote matric last year got A's for the subject. The suggestion
from Mrs Nkosi was that we should teach Zulu at the same level as Afrikaans
and we are doing that now."

He conceded that the Zulu taught as a second language would not be at the
same standard as English being taught as a first language.

He said that the younger son of KwaZulu-Natal's former education MEC Gabriel
Ndabandaba had been a pupil at the school and had gone on to become a
teacher, teaching English and Zulu.

Magner said the school had not received any complaints from parents or
pupils prior to Nkosi's complaint. He pointed out that the school had no
control over the curriculum that was decided by the education department.

The school began admitting pupils of different colours from 1990 onwards,
when legislation changed.

Following a meeting held in June 2007 with Nkosi, he said: "What we did, we
agreed we would need to employ someone to teach additional classes."

Since 2008 Zulu had been taught at the school on a par with Afrikaans, which
was classified a first additional language.

Asked if Nkosi's son was treated differently under the school's language
policy compared to other pupils, Magner replied: "Absolutely not".

Under cross-examination, Magner conceded that the school had not approached
the education department for additional resources for teaching Zulu.

It emerged during testimony that Nkosi's son had at one stage during 2007 a
four percent mark for Afrikaans. The comment on his year end report card for
the year when he obtained a total mark of 17 percent for Afrikaan was
"immature, undisciplined attitude".

The comments next to other subjects were much more favourable.

On Wednesday Nkosi testified and claimed that DHS was "promoting the
subjugation of indigenous languages. Our children are being taught what we
call kitchen Zulu".

It also emerged on Wednesday that she had not paid her son's school fees and
taken her son out of the school without informing him.

The two legal teams are expected to hand in written argument by August 22,
following which Magistrate John Sanders will hand down judgment on a day to
be announced. - Sapa

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*Published on the Web by IOL on 2008-07-24 18:15:19*
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