[lg policy] South Africa: AfriForum calls on parents to support mother-tongue education

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 1 15:44:39 UTC 2010

AfriForum calls on parents to support mother-tongue education

SUE BLAINE  Published: 2009/12/31 06:30:00 AM

CIVIL rights group AfriForum yesterday called on parents to enrol
their children in schools at which they could be taught in their
mother tongue, and push the government to provide mother- tongue
education where it was not yet available. Although the Basic Education
Department’s school language policy views mother-tongue education as
preferential — especially in the lower grades — most children in SA
are taught in English because of practicalities such as teacher
ability. The matric results confirmed “year after year” that pupils
who had mother-tongue education performed better than those who were
educated in a second or third language, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel

Last year, the matric pass rate was 62%, meaning more than a third of
the 589912 candidates who wrote failed. Many wrote in a second or
third language. Where mother-tongue education was already being
provided, parents should resist efforts to curtail it “in the
strongest possible terms”, Kriel said. In October, the Constitutional
Court ruled that the government did have the right to withdraw, on
reasonable grounds, the power of a school’s governing body to
determine a school’s language policy. This was the end to the
long-running litigation over whether the Mpumalanga education
department could overturn Hoërskool Ermelo’s Afrikaans- only language
policy, which the school, supported by AfriForum, challenged. The
court , however, ruled that the Mpumalanga education department had
not followed the correct procedure and overturned its action with
regard to Hoërskool Ermelo.

Kriel said it had been “proven time and again” that children found it
easier to master new concepts and skills in their mother tongue, and
that thereafter they found it easier to transfer these skills to a
second language . “Parents have to insist that their children are
educated in their mother tongue,” he said.


blaines at bdfm.co.za

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