[lg policy] South Africa: Department denies scrapping Xhosa in schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 25 16:06:55 UTC 2012

Department denies scrapping Xhosa in schools

January 24 2012 at 09:50am
By Mogomotsi Magome
xhosa high school


The Department of Basic Education has denied a report that former
Model C schools have stopped offering Xhosa as a subject for pupils in
Grade 0 to Grade 3. Weekend media reports said that many of these
schools had stopped offering the language as a first additional
language and were offering Afrikaans instead. Director-general Bobby
Soobrayan said on Monday that school governing bodies decided on the
school’s language policy, but it was not government policy that they
should not offer African languages.

Soobrayan said there was a mixed reaction from schools to the
department’s insistence that pupils should leave school competent in
at least one African language. “It is misleading to say that because
of government policy, schools are scrapping African languages in
favour of Afrikaans as the first additional language. “What we are
saying is that because pupils find it difficult to start learning in
English when they get to Grade 4, they must be taught English when
they start school.

“This would mean they would then have their home language as the first
additional language. “Because school governing bodies determine the
language policy, some schools choose to offer Afrikaans as the first
additional language.” The department could not dictate language policy
to the schools, but had pleaded with them to offer African languages
at schools, Soobrayan said. “What we want to see is every pupil being
competent in an African language when they leave school,” he said.

“It cannot be correct then that pupils do not have an African language
from Grade 0 to Grade 3. “The reaction from schools has been mixed.
“Many are enthusiastic about teaching African languages, but others
are less enthusiastic.” In the matric exams last year, 68 455 Grade
12s wrote Afrikaans as their first additional language, compared with
the 1 547 pupils who wrote Xhosa and 10 943 who wrote Zulu.

A Sunday Times report at the weekend said that most former Model C
schools were scrapping Xhosa and making pupils study Afrikaans as
their first additional language. - Pretoria News


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