[lg policy] South Africa: UFS language policy court ruling a victory for Afrikaans

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 11:17:31 EDT 2016

UFS language policy court ruling a victory for Afrikaans: Afriforum
Nomahlubi Jordaan | 21 July, 2016 14:58
DIVIDED, BUT UNITED: Black and white students at Free State University have
stood together to condemn the attack
AfriForum has hailed Wednesday's court judgement overturning a decision by
the University of the Free State (UFS) to have English as the sole medium
of instruction as a victory for Afrikaans.
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The lobby group had took the university to the High Court in Bloemfontein‚
arguing that its new language policy was unconstitutional.

In a statement following the judgement‚ Afriforum described it as a
victory‚ "for Afrikaans‚ its speakers and the language right of South
Africans in general".

In March‚ after weeks of student unrest‚ the UFS council reached a
unanimous decision to make English the primary medium of instruction.

"It became clear during the hearing on 20 June 2016 that the University's
management did not consider the provisions of the South African
Constitution regarding the right to choice of language of instruction‚ but
rather bent the knee to anarchy‚ while parading their political games as a
language issue in the process‚" Afriforum said.

"The phasing out of Afrikaans as medium of instruction would have
significantly affected the rights of members of AfriForum‚ AfriForum Youth
and Solidarity‚ which include Afrikaans students‚ prospective students‚
their parents and employees of the University.

"The organisations therefore welcome the ruling by the court. The
continuous Anglicisation of the tertiary education is not only out of touch
with international tendencies‚ but impacts heavily on the rights of 90% of
the country's indigenous mother-tongue speakers.

"The argument that English education offers greater access is a myth – it
only benefits English mother-tongue speakers. Nothing is gained by scaling
down Afrikaans education‚ because rights cannot be promoted by taking away
the rights of anyone else."

AfriForum‚ AfriForum Youth and Solidarity are also involved in legal action
over similar discriminating decisions against Afrikaans as medium of
instruction at the Universities of South Africa‚ Pretoria and Stellenbosch.


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