[lg policy] South Africa: ConCourt ruling on UFS missed the point

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 10:12:27 EST 2018

ConCourt ruling on UFS missed the point

Robert J Balfour <https://mg.co.za/author/robert-j-balfour> 19 Jan 2018
[image: 'But the English/Afrikaans binary is, as it was in 1976, a false
one,' says the writer]

'But the English/Afrikaans binary is, as it was in 1976, a false one,' says
the writer

The Constitutional Court judgment of December 29 on the language policy for
the University of the Free State (UFS) is seminal and its implications are

The judgment’s outcome affirms that the UFS language policy is not in
contravention of the Constitution or the language policy for higher
education. AfriForum and Solidarity’s application for leave to appeal was
refused and the judgment confirms that English will be the primary medium
of instruction, although Afrikaans may be used in specific professional
degrees at the level of the tutorial, rather than the lecture.

The judgment considers the role of Afrikaans in the erstwhile UFS language
policy: “It is absolutely impossible to provide language of choice without
indirectly discriminating on the basis of race” and associates this with
the unintended consequence of racially segregated classrooms, which in turn
contributes to race tension and an absence of race integration.

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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