[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] South Africa: Stellenbosch embraces multilingual teaching

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 16:23:36 UTC 2014

 Stellenbosch embraces multilingual teaching November 25 2014 at 12:35pm
By Ilse Fredericks
Copy of ca p2 Stellenbosch University DONE] CAPE ARGUS English and
Afrikaans will be afforded equal status in the lecture halls at
Stellenbosch University, the institution's council has decided. Photo:
David Ritchie

Cape Town - English and Afrikaans will be afforded equal status in the
lecture halls at Stellenbosch University, the institution’s council has

In a statement released on Monday, the university announced that
multilingualism and an increase in lectures in English and Afrikaans would
form the essence of a language policy which was accepted by the
university’s council on Saturday.

A commitment was made to make additional funding available to ensure that
at least 75 percent of all the university’s undergraduate modules would be
offered in English and Afrikaans within the next five years.

Modules in the engineering faculty are offered in both languages and the
faculty of economic and management sciences was expected to reach this goal
by 2016.

The former predominantly white and Afrikaans university has started
following a mixed language model which consists of a combination of:
separate Afrikaans and English classes (parallel medium) mostly in large
classes of 250 or more students; lectures in English only, with in-time
interpreting into Afrikaans, or vice versa; and dual-medium classes where
Afrikaans and English are spoken, with at least 50 percent in Afrikaans.

Council chairman George Steyn said Afrikaans and multilingualism were
regarded as assets for the university.

“The Afrikaans offering will be increased, but without excluding
non-Afrikaans speakers. The manner in which Stellenbosch University will
manage multilingualism in future will create a unique distinguishing
advantage because we will take the context, the academic programme and the
students’ needs into consideration. The objective is to facilitate optimal
learning and teaching for all South Africans.”

The university also “accepts responsibility to promote Xhosa as an academic
language and language of social interaction judiciously and where

The university launched various initiatives regarding Xhosa, including
short courses in basic communication skills. The Language Centre has
developed sport terminology in three languages for rugby and soccer.

In June, the council asked the vice-rector: Learning and Teaching to
present a plan for the institution’s language offering at the council’s
September meeting.

The university’s language policy is revised every three years.

The language policy and plan were drafted by a task team which consulted
with university bodies. Staff and students were also invited to provide
input. The university said all contributions had been considered.
ilse.fredericks at inl.co.za

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