[lg policy] Stellenbosch language policy 'in interest of students' rights'

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri May 13 11:35:29 EDT 2016

 Stellenbosch language policy 'in interest of students' rights' 2016-05-12
[image: (Supplied by Stellenbosch University)]

(Supplied by Stellenbosch University)

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Cape Town - Stellenbosch University acted in the interests of all of its
students' constitutional right to education by revising its language policy
to accommodate students who did not speak Afrikaans, according to a report
into the reasons for the change in the policy.

reported on Thursday that Craig Howie, retired judge president of the
Supreme Court of Appeal, had compiled a 24-page report into the language

*- See the full report below.*

In November 2015, Stellenbosch University announced that all learning at
the institution would be in English
as it was the common language in the country. It added that "substantial
academic support" would be provided in other South African languages,
according to students' needs.

Howie wrote that university management had been "motivated to maintain and
preserve the function, reputation and welfare of the university without
infringing on any students' constitutional rights".

Had it not taken such "anti-exclusionary decisions and action", the
university would have been vulnerable to a constitutional challenge by
students not proficient in Afrikaans.

However, the university had in the process opened itself up to legal action
by Afrikaans students who wanted to be taught in their home language, Howie

"It is no small irony that, having taken those steps, it felt vulnerable to
the court challenges mounted by Afrikaans students but this only serves to
highlight the wisdom of having instituted the current review process aimed
at amendment of the policy and plan."

AfriForum Youth has opposed the revision of the policy, saying it
disregarded almost half of the Western Cape's residents, who were Afrikaans
speaking. The application will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on
May 19.

*- Read more: Hearing over Maties language policy revision set down for May


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