[lg policy] South Africa: Stellies 'unlikely' to change language policy next year

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Nov 17 16:30:44 UTC 2015

 Stellies 'unlikely' to change language policy next year 2015-11-16 15:20

Genevieve Quintal, News24
[image: Protesting Stellenbosch University students (Tammy Petersen,

Protesting Stellenbosch University students (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Johannesburg - It is unlikely that the language of tuition at Stellenbosch
University will be changed to English next year.

This is after the university's executive committee said in a statement that
the language implementation plan for next year had already been approved.
It also said the minimum offering in each language would remain in place.

"Any possible future changes in the language policy/plan shall follow the
statutory route," the executive committee of the university's council said
in a statement.

"This includes wide consultation with all stakeholders with the resultant
consolidated document presented to the IF [Institutional Forum] and Senate
(via various faculty boards) for their respective inputs."

The final document would be presented to the council for discussion,
alteration or ratification.

Last week the rector's management team submitted a proposal for the
University of Stellenbosch's new language policy

It suggested that all learning at the institution be done in English.

The university's Exco on Monday reiterated that the current management's
document represented a perspective that was based on "their experience of
events and consultation with student bodies".

It said it was a discussion document and not a policy statement.

There were mixed reactions to the proposal.

The Democratic Alliance said it had some concerns about the proposed
language policy.

"The change would see English made the primary language of instruction, and
this appears to be in contravention of the constitutional principle that
every person has the right to be taught in the official language of their
choice, where reasonably practicable," DA MP Belinda Bozzoli said in a

"The constitutional rights of Afrikaans-speaking students, therefore, need
to be upheld while those of other students of different backgrounds are
also met. That is what inclusiveness means in a multicultural society."

The DA was also concerned about the consultation process, claiming that it
was narrow and may not have taken all views into consideration.

Bozzoli said the party noted that the SA Students Congress was consulted
but the Democratic Alliance Student organisation was not.

"Students and academic staff with a wide variety of opinions surely need to
be consulted, including many whose views may not accord with those of any
political party or movement," she said.

The African National Congress
welcomed the proposal while the Freedom Front Plus called it

The office of the ANC Chief Whip said the proposed language policy change
was a step in the right direction.

"It is important to us that such a change is happening at Stellenbosch
University, which has for years been regarded as an enclave of white
Afrikaner nationalism where racial discrimination, exclusionary policies
and resistance to transformation [are the norm]."

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said Afrikaans was the majority language in
the Western Cape where the university was based.

"Afrikaans' 6.8 million speakers is the third largest language in South
Africa after Zulu (11.5 million) and Xhosa (8.1 million)," he said.

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