[lg policy] South Africa: Make African language a must: Nzimande

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 17 14:12:25 UTC 2011

Make African language a must: Nzimande

September 16 2011 at 08:41pm
blade aug 23


Speaking, reading and writing an indigenous African language should be
considered a prerequisite for tertiary education, Higher Education
Minister Blade Nzimande said on Friday. He was disappointed at the
slow progress in the “development of African languages as languages of
scholarship” at the country's universities. In a speech prepared for
delivery at a meeting of the African languages advisory panel,
Nzimande made suggestions on how to ensure indigenous African
languages could become languages of instruction in higher education.

“We must explore the feasibility and possibility of promoting and
making it a requirement that all South African students in higher
education must be able to speak/read/write at least one African
indigenous language.”

There would also be a need to consider “the implications of this for
teaching and usage of African languages in our entire education

Nzimande said the higher education policy on languages acknowledged
South Africa's linguistic diversity.

“Contrary to the general perception, the policy recognises the
retention of Afrikaans as a language of (academia). It acknowledges
the value and contribution of Afrikaans (and English).”

However, the policy was also clear that the two languages should not
be “used as barrier to access for those students who are not first
language speakers of these languages”.

He said policies on languages needed to be reviewed.

Nzimande urged the panel to look at strengthening African language
departments in universities.

It should also examine obstacles in the publishing industry to the
development and usage of African languages, he said. - Sapa


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