African languages must be taught
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
The Department of Basic Education is developing a policy that will compel all state schools to offer an African language.
The announcement comes after the Sunday Times revealed last week that many former model C primary schools, in which English had been medium of instruction, were sidelining African languages by offering Afrikaans as the first additional language. “It is therefore in school’s interests not to drop their African languages from the curriculum. If the policy is approved, all public schools will have to offer one of the African languages”, said the department.
Executive Director of the Education and Skills Development Research Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council, Vijay Reddy said it was important for children whose home language was English or Afrikaans to learn an African language. She said it “was about a South African identity, social cohesion and nation building”. An Adjunct Professor in the African languages section at the University of Cape Town, Tessa Dowing said: “Scrapping African-language teaching at schools creates a new, more insidious apartheid.
It says African languages can only be spoken and studied in rural areas and townships by poor black people”. But Professor Sarah Gravett, Dean of Education at the University of Johannesburg said there was a shortage of qualified teachers for African languages.-Sunday Times