[lg policy] South Africa: Is race a facade for the language policy at Stellenbosch University?

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 31 15:02:23 UTC 2012

Is race a facade for the language policy at SU?

    Posted by Yaseen Carelse on March 28, 2012 at 2:00

DASO’s Approach to the Language Policy:

The citizens of South Africa make up an immensely diverse civil
society, which becomes increasingly evident in higher education
institutions. One area of particular concern that emerges from this
heterogeneous culture is the issue of language, especially how this
translates into the teaching curricula and overall infrastructure of
any educational institution.

DASO Stellenbosch recognises the responsibility of every higher
education institution to represent and reflect the diversity and
heterogeneous nature of the South African culture, but wishes to
emphasise the importance of institutional autonomy, and with regards
to language, the internal nature of policies regarding language.


Whilst acknowledging the inherent diversity of civil society, DASO
Stellenbosch calls for a responsible approach with regards to language
policies in higher education institutions. DASO Stellenbosch proposes
a two-pronged approach to this problem, encompassing both social
responsibility and institutional autonomy, whilst stressing the point
that any language policy should result from and reflect on an
effective approach to higher education in general.

DASO Stellenbosch recognises the effects of globalisation, and the
fact that students are being trained to form part of a global work
environment. Within this global work-environment, the English language
has become a dominant international business standard, and it has
become vital to ensure that all students have a working knowledge of
the English language, in both theoretical and practical application.

All courses should therefore, to some extent, be comprised of English
subject matter. However, DASO Stellenbosch supports the notion that
the eventual decision with regards to the extent of English and
alternative language used in teaching, should ultimately be made by
the institution itself.

The state should respect the independence and autonomy of these
institutions, and allow its internal processes to drive eventual
policy, limited to the extent that language does not become a barrier
of entry to any tertiary institutions. DASO Stellenbosch therefore
firstly maintains that due to certain considerations within a
globalising society, a certain extent of course material must be made
available and presented in the English language, whilst secondly
maintaining that the decision with regards to the extent of the
language divide, be made by the respective institutions.

Although DASO Stellenbosch recognises the necessity for English
language in all higher educational institutions and forwards the idea
strongly, DASO Stellenbosch also respects and supports the use of all
the official languages of the Republic of South Africa in higher
educational institutions and the broadening of knowledge through these

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