[lg policy] South Africa: Storm brews over University of Pretoria’s decision to review language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 30 15:22:52 UTC 2015

 Storm brews over University of Pretoria’s decision to review language
by Sipho Masombuka, October 29 2015, 17:56
[image: submit to reddit] <http://www.reddit.com/submit>
[image: Students run past the Old Arts Building at the University of
Pretoria's Hatfield campus last week. Picture: Aron Hyman]
Students run past the Old Arts Building at the University of Pretoria's
Hatfield campus last week. Picture: ARON HYMAN
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In this article

A STORM is brewing over the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) decision to
review its language policy‚ which could see Afrikaans scrapped as a
language of instruction.

Vice-chancellor Cheryl de la Rey resolved to consult with the senate‚
council and all stakeholders‚ including the Department of Higher Education‚
on the institution’s language policy, based on demands made by students
during last week’s Fees Must Fall campaign.
In depth: Fees must fall[image: fees must fall]News, views and analysis of
SA's student protests against fee increases

"Accordingly‚ an investigation is under way‚ and (a) report has been
promised by the end of the year. Assumptions should not be made as to the
outcomes at this stage‚" spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said.

While this move was hailed as progressive by the Higher Education
Transformation Network‚ it has raised the ire of the Afrikaner rights group

AfriForum Youth spokesman Ian Cameron said management yielded to student
groups intent on rendering campuses ungovernable through violence and
intimidation‚ asking whether Afrikaner students would have to resort to
similar actions to protect their rights.

"This step disregards the right of Afrikaans students at UP to receive
education in their mother tongue‚" he said.

Mr Cameron said this was the latest attack on Afrikaans mother-tongue
education at the country’s universities.

According to Mr Cameron‚ investigations conducted by the University of
Pretoria between 2007 and 2010 showed that it would cost R100m a year for
continued classes in Afrikaans.

He said it would cost about the same amount for every student to be taught
in their mother tongue.

"(The university) has money for that. Government has a constitutional
mandate to ensure that everyone receives mother-tongue education and to
date we are not seeing the fulfilment of that mandate‚" he said.

Mr Cameron said next week they would hand over a memorandum to management
demanding that Afrikaans continue to enjoy equal status with English.

The Higher Education Transformation Network’s executive director‚ Reginald
Legoabe‚ said if Afrikaans continued to be one of the languages of
instruction along with English‚ then all students must learn in their
mother tongue, but said this would be a very expensive system.

"English would be a typical language of consensus because it is used
internationally and in the business environment. We will not have a problem
if all groups agree to gravitate towards the utilisation of English so that
we do not give anybody extra advantage‚" he said.


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