[lg policy] South Africa: AfriForum, Gauteng education clash

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 15:17:24 UTC 2015

 AfriForum, Gauteng education clash April 28 2015 at 12:20pm
By Goitsemang Tlhabye
[image: IOL pic mar3 chalk board] INDEPENDENT MEDIA .

Johannesburg - Civil rights organisation AfriForum has dismissed the
Gauteng Department of Basic Education’s latest bid to change single-medium
Afrikaans schools to dual-medium schools as a “ploy to attack Afrikaans

The organisation condemned a notice that was distributed listing the names
of single-medium Afrikaans schools to be considered for the change,
according to the department.

The Pretoria schools on the list apparently include Afrikaans Hoër
Meisieskool, Laerskool Pretoria-Oos, Laerskool Anton van Wouw and Hoërskool

Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s campaign co-ordinator for education affairs, said
they felt strongly about quality education and every pupil’s right to be
taught in their own language. The proposed change would hamper that right,
she said.

“The language at any school is determined by the ratio of learners who
attend it, and Pretoria schools which are single medium have at least 80
percent of learners using that language.

“The department creates the false impression that an amendment of the
language policy will create room for more learners, but there is no space
for more learners.

“The solution is that the department should provide more schools, if that
is indeed the real problem.”

The department, however, has said it wasn’t looking to create dual-medium
schools, but rather changing some schools in the province into parallel

Department spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said: “Due to the increasing
demand for space in our schools and the influx of learners from other
provinces into Gauteng, the department has taken a decision to use the
available space to admit these learners. The department must therefore
utilise all available space to accommodate these learners.

“The change would mean that the affected schools will have separate classes
for English and other classes in any chosen language,” she said.

Professor Kobus Maree, of the University of Pretoria’s Department of
Educational Psychology, said he supported the idea the department was

“Inner-city schools are filled to the brim already, and if they have spare
classrooms, there’s no excuse not to use them. It would be in the best
interests of society.

“Children can benefit from any kind of mode of education, given that all
the additional support is provided to the schools and teachers,” he said.

“The majority of teachers already teach in their second mother tongue, and
it is therefore absolutely essential to upskill teachers in terms of their
language of teaching ability. We tend to conjure up ghosts that need not be
there and underestimate learners,” Maree said. “AfriForum thinks it’s an
excuse to destroy Afrikaans schools.”

AfriForum was ready to legally oppose the move.

*The Star*


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