[lg policy] Stellenbosch University asks for comment on revised language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 23 15:04:00 UTC 2016

Stellenbosch University asks for comment on revised language policy
[image: Stellenbosch University. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES]
Stellenbosch University. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
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   - Stellenbosch academics feel the strain of dual language decision

STELLENBOSCH University has set the ball rolling for a revised language
policy by inviting various stakeholders, including students, alumni and
donors, to comment on the first concept of the new proposed guidelines.

Late last year the Stellenbosch University council, which has oversight
responsibilities of academic and operational issues, decided to give
English and Afrikaans equal status, despite support from the rector’s
management team for the adoption of English as the primary language of
communication and administration from this year.

The traditionally Afrikaans university was the centre of chaotic scenes
last year as student lobby group Open Stellenbosch protested against the
language policy, arguing that the policy "safeguards Afrikaner culture" and
excludes black students. The group demanded that English be the main
language of instruction.

But the new proposed language policy will give English and Afrikaans equal

"With our campuses situated in the Western Cape, we commit ourselves to the
promotion of Afrikaans, English and Xhosa at undergraduate level ... as the
three official languages of the Western Cape. We do this with an
innovative, inclusive and future focused spirit, preparing students to be
thought leaders in the global knowledge economy," the new proposed policy

English is the main language of instruction at postgraduate level.

University spokeswoman Susan van der Merwe said on Tuesday stakeholders
could submit comment until April 22 2016.

"Respondents may provide general and specific comments on the concept
policy, as well as any additional suggestions. The workgroup will consider
all the input for possible inclusion. However, it may not be possible to
include all suggestions in the second concept of the policy. Respondents
may complete an online form, or send comments to language at sun.ac.za," Ms
van der Merwe said.

Stellenbosch University is just one of a number of traditionally Afrikaans
universities grappling with transformation. Following weeks of student
unrest, the council of the University of the Free State said earlier this
month that English would be the primary medium of instruction at
undergraduate and postgraduate level on its campuses in Bloemfontein and


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