[lg policy] Stellenbosch: Language & transition

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Nov 24 16:21:53 UTC 2015


 Stellenbosch: Language & transition 2015-11-23 16:00
<http://www.news24.com/City-Press>
Video
WATCH: Stellenbosch students simultaneously vandalise and clean-up statue
on campus
<http://www.news24.com/RelatedGalleryItemModal.aspx?type=video&id=f93025e7-0a42-456d-b168-1f3286c43ac5&iframe>
2015-11-21
08:27
<http://www.news24.com/RelatedGalleryItemModal.aspx?type=video&id=f93025e7-0a42-456d-b168-1f3286c43ac5&iframe>

Students at the Stellenbosch University who continued to vandalise a statue
while others attempted to clean it up could face disciplinary action, the
university has said.WATCH
<http://www.news24.com/RelatedGalleryItemModal.aspx?type=video&id=f93025e7-0a42-456d-b168-1f3286c43ac5&iframe>
Related Links

   - WATCH: Stellenbosch students simultaneously vandalise and clean-up
   statue on campus
   <http://www.news24.com/Live/SouthAfrica/News/watch-stellenbosch-students-simultaneously-vandalise-and-clean-up-statue-on-campus-20151121>
   watch
   <http://www.news24.com/Live/SouthAfrica/News/watch-stellenbosch-students-simultaneously-vandalise-and-clean-up-statue-on-campus-20151121>
   - Unanimous support for Maties English plan - SRC
   <http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/unanimous-support-for-maties-english-plan-src-20151120>
   - Matie students may face disciplinary after defacing statue
   <http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/matie-students-may-face-disciplinary-after-defacing-statue-20151120>

Last week Professor Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of
Stellenbosch University, leapt into the right side of SA history when he
announced bold plans to make English the main medium of instruction at the
university.

The long-overdue decision, which has been hailed by many sections of
society as a step in the right direction, is likely to have been inspired
by the pressure group Open Stellenbosch.

Whether by design or by default, it is a decision that will give De
Villiers a special place in the history of the struggle for access to
higher education for the historically disadvantaged. However, not everyone
is happy with the decision. Here’s what commentators had to say:

*Students and Economic Freedom Fighters members mount a protest at the
Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch last month against the
institution’s language policy*
*PHOTO: Lulama Zenzile *

AGAINST

*The FW de Klerk Foundation*

The foundation has taken note, with shock and disappointment, of the letter
and annexure of Professor Wim de Villiers to the senate of the University
of Stellenbosch.

The letter makes it clear that if the rector’s proposals are approved by
the university council on November 30, Afrikaans will no longer have an
equal position with English at Stellenbosch University.

So, after being assured only a few years ago that Afrikaans would be the
default language, and after assurances last year that the language would
enjoy equal status with English, it now appears that Afrikaans is, for all
practical purposes, on its way out as a language of tuition.

Under these circumstances, we must ask what confidence we can place on any
assurances by the university administration.

The administration has evidently bowed to the demands of the Open
Stellenbosch movement – an organisation that apparently has a core
membership of fewer than 50 people.

It is incomprehensible that the university administration should so easily
have swept aside the reasonable interests, concerns and rights of
Afrikaans-speaking students on the entirely unconstitutional grounds that
English is now the only acceptable language of access to education.

*Alana Bailey, deputy CEO of AfriForum*

The Stellenbosch University statement is a testimony of extreme ideological
obligingness or serious ignorance, seeing as reference is made to ‘best
language policy practices’ that are allegedly emulated.

The statement makes it clear the Stellenbosch University management cannot
even be trusted to maintain the partial presentation, but wants to make an
effort to further marginalise Afrikaans and discriminate even more
drastically against Afrikaans-speaking students.

It disappoints that the university management is acting vigorously in
reaction to Open Stellenbosch’s unfounded allegations, but is disregarding
the best interests of basically half of the province’s residents, and is
not even interested in conversing with mainstream student institutions that
are advocating Afrikaans education, even excluding them from the arguments.

Last week Professor Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of
Stellenbosch University, leapt into the right side of SA history when he
announced bold plans to make English the main medium of instruction at the
university. The long-overdue decision, which has been hailed by many
sections of society as a step in the right direction, is likely to have
been inspired by the pressure group Open Stellenbosch.

Whether by design or by default, it is a decision that will give De
Villiers a special place in the history of the struggle for access to
higher education for the historically disadvantaged. However, not everyone
is happy with the decision. Here’s what commentators had to say:

FOR

*220 **Stellenbosch academics support**proposals*

We support the proposal by the rector’s management team on November 12 2015
with regard to the use of language at Stellenbosch University.

The choice of English as a primary language of instruction with augmented
support for Afrikaans and isiXhosa is based on the principles of social
justice and inclusivity. This decision will provide the university with the
opportunity to become a truly South African one that is open and accessible
to students and staff from our country, other parts of the rest of Africa
and beyond.

The proposed new language policy is motivated by a concern to open access
to Stellenbosch University to students from a range of social backgrounds
and to make sure they are not marginalised when they come here. This
concern has been given prominence by students and staff in meetings and
during protests, and we applaud senior management for taking these
seriously.

We are very concerned by talk of a backlash against these proposals, which
is an attempt to retain Afrikaans as the primary language of academic
communication and instruction. In effect, this celebrates the “exclusivity”
of Afrikaans and closes the door on the university’s ability to embrace
different people from a range of cultures and language groups.

Developing an inclusive and shared institutional ethos based on equal
worth, dignity and respect will establish our university as a welcoming
place for students, academics and workers.

It is in this light that we, as concerned academics and professional
support services staff, declare that we support the proposals of the
rector’s management team to adopt a language policy that will enable the
university to establish itself as a truly inclusive South African
university, a welcoming and culturally inclusive place of academic study
for people from all walks of life.

*Stone Sizani, ANC chief whip*

We welcome this important change to the controversial language policy as 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].

http://www.news24.com/Opinions/stellenbosch-language-transition-20151123


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