[lg policy] South Africa English to become primary language at Stellenbosch University
hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Nov 13 21:49:10 UTC 2015
English to become primary language at Stellenbosch University
by Bekezela Phakathi
13 November 2015, 11:31
[image: October 23: Students from Stellenbosch University protest against
fee hikes, through the centre of town. Picture:AFP/ RODGER BOSCH]
October 23: Students from Stellenbosch University protest against fee
hikes, through the centre of town. Picture:AFP/ RODGER BOSCH
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STELLENBOSCH University looks set to become a fully fledged English medium
university as from next year after management agreed to table the amended
language policy before council later in November.
A statement released on Thursday evening by the rector’s management team
said the primary language of communication and administration at
Stellenbosch University would be English since it was the common language
All learning at Stellenbosch University would be facilitated in English,
and substantial academic support would be provided in other South African
languages, according to students’ needs. In residences and other living
environments, students should use English as the common language in house
meetings and other official functions, the management team said.
The university has been accused of marginalising non-Afrikaans speaking
students, amid mounting pressure for it to change its policy to allow
instruction in English.
The council, which has oversight responsibilities over academic and
operational issues, has indicated that it supports the new language policy.
Student pressure group Open Stellenbosch has been protesting against the
university’s language policy for the better part of the year arguing that
it "safeguards Afrikaner culture" and excludes most black students.
In September, the university’s language task team recommended that
Afrikaans and English should have equal status as mediums of teaching.
But the statement from the rector’s management team said English should be
the main language of instruction.
"The primary language of communication and administration at Stellenbosch
University will be English, with Afrikaans and isiXhosa as additional
languages. The additional languages may not be used to exclude anyone from
full participation at the University. This implies that all communication
at Stellenbosch University will be in at least English, including meetings,
official documents ,and services at reception desks and the call centre,"
the statement read.
Open Stellenbosch said on Friday that the new language policy was a
"significant victory in this struggle for access to education and for
social justice in this country".
"It is also the first step to undoing the cultural monolith that is
Stellenbosch, with its excess baggage from apartheid. The university ...
continues to attract historically privileged members of society, in a
postapartheid context, and has remained complicit with structures that
perpetuate injustice and racial discord.
"Although we note with great concern how the rector, his management team as
well as council have been uncooperative with respect to transformation and
addressing the continuing hegemony of Afrikaner culture, we nevertheless
acknowledge and commend the ultimate gestures that led to this agreement,"
Open Stellenbosch said in a statement.
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