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Academic Paper


Title: The African languages in South African education 2009–2011
Author: Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty
Institution: University of KwaZulu-Natal
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: South African National Language Education policy (South Africa, DoE 2002) enshrines multilingualism (ML) as one of its major goals. The implementation of such a policy is a slow process, however, particularly in the educational domain, where parents, teachers and students favour the dominant, ex-colonial language (English) for both historic and instrumental reasons (Dalvit & de Klerk 2005). However, results of the National Benchmarking Test (NBMT Report 2009) conducted at selected South African universities show that most non-English speaking students in higher education have underdeveloped language and numeracy skills for study at this level, one of the main barriers to access being that of language (Council on Higher Education 2007: 2). Efforts have thus intensified in South African institutions to introduce the home languages of learners into the educational domain, either as learning support alongside the main medium of instruction or as alternative languages of instruction, working towards the development of a bilingual education model. This report documents developments in research in the promotion and use of the African languages in education in South Africa in recent years, particularly since the publication of the previous report (Wildsmith-Cromarty 2009), which discussed various initiatives in the teaching, development and use of the African languages in South African education during the period 2005–2008. This report considers further developments in the use of the African languages for academic purposes in the following areas: the learning and teaching of these languages as additional languages and for professional purposes in selected disciplines for specialist programmes, and their intellectualization, which includes their use as languages of instruction, in the translation of materials and other learning resources, and development of terminology.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Teaching Vol. 46, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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