[lg policy] South Africa: Schools warned against language exclusion

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 21 14:53:10 UTC 2011

Schools warned against language exclusion

Friday 18 November 2011 18:04

Gillian Pillay

Education Department is urged to prioritise the issue of language
policies at schools.(SABC)

The Basic Education Department has cautioned schools not to use
language to subvert transformation. Last night, a Fochville community
in Gauteng petitioned against the exclusion of their children from two
historically Afrikaans schools.

Less than 20 children are affected but the education department says
the community's desires must still be taken into account.

Education is supposed to be a basic right, but resources and finances
are stumbling blocks. "Language issue is not that anybody has a
mandate willy-nilly to decide on its national question and therefore
we think the MEC will consider the facts put before her," says Jacob
Khawe from the Gauteng Legislature.

Parents of pupils from Kokosi Township want their children to be
enrolled at a school nearer to them. But their demand affects less
than twenty children.

"Those people in Fochville schools, they do not want to take our
children to that school. They just say the child has to do Afrikaans
language and I think it is a problem to our children," says one the
parents, Kelebogile Makamba.

Another parent, Barbara Mhlongo had this to say: "The situation is bad
because now we have freedom and how can we still experience this thing
of racism. We have to do one thing that's equal for all."

    An additional English class has been set up for the primary school
from next year

Authorities say it makes no financial sense to change an entire school
policy with only a few pupils wanting to be admitted. It says if the
numbers increase, the community might have a stronger case and
believes fusing classes is the answer.

"The department was clear, we are not against Afrikaans and the two
schools must merge. There will be Afrikaans and there will be an
English one so that all learners can have access into these schools,"
explained District Director, Dr Peter Skosana.

The Pan South African Languages board says the education department
should prioritise the issue of language policies at schools as it will
continue to cause friction. An additional English class has been set
up for the primary school from next year.


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