[lg policy] South Africa: Schools face language problems

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 10 14:50:56 UTC 2013

 Schools face language problems - report

May 9 2013 at 09:50am


 Johannesburg - Schools are plagued by language problems with at least 30
percent of Grade One pupils not being taught in their home language, it was
reported on Thursday.

“When learners do not speak the language of instruction, they find learning
difficult and academic achievement is undermined,” a national education
evaluation and development unit study found, according to a report in The

The study, of pupils' first three years at school, also found significant
differences between spoken African languages and their written forms.
As a result, pupils were often unable to understand national tests, the
newspaper reported.

The education department's policy allows for students to be taught in an
African language only from Grade One to Grade Three.

Researchers were reportedly concerned that the government's new policy of
teaching English as an additional first language from Grade One to Grade
Three was not being properly implemented.

The English policy was introduced in 2012 to make sure Grade One pupils
were well-grounded in English so they could cope with the all-English
curriculum from Grade Four.

However, many teachers did not have the required proficiency in English to
teach it effectively from Grade One.

According to The Times, researchers found that some parents were insisting
that teaching be exclusively in English. - Sapa

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