University of Stellenbosch “un

University of Stellenbosch “unlikely” to change language policy next year

Looks like all the fuss was for nought and that Afrikaans will remain the dominant language at Stellenbosch university, at least for the next year.

University of Stellenbosch “un

The University’s executive committee said in a statement that next year’s language implementation plan has already been approved, so can’t be changed now. On top of this, the minimum offering in every other language would also remain in place, so the percentage of English classes will stay the same for now.

“Any possible future changes in the language policy/plan shall follow the statutory route,” the executive committee of the university’s council said in a statement.

“This includes wide consultation with all stakeholders with the resultant consolidated document presented to the IF and Senate for their respective inputs.”

Even though the rector’s management team last week submitted a proposal for all classes to be offered in English as of next year, the university’s executive committee made it clear that all current documents are merely a perspective based on “their experience of events and consultation with student bodies”.

They made it clear that this is just a discussion document and not a policy statement. The DA has weighed in on the issue, voicing their concerns about the constitutional legitimacy of the language change proposal.

“The change would see English made the primary language of instruction, and this appears to be in contravention of the constitutional principle that every person has the right to be taught in the official language of their choice, where reasonably practicable,” said the DA’ MP Belinda Bozzoli.

“The constitutional rights of Afrikaans-speaking students, therefore, need to be upheld while those of other students of different backgrounds are also met. That is what inclusiveness means in a multicultural society.”

On top of this, the official opposition has raised concerns about the consultation process, insinuating that it might have been too narrow, not taking all views into consideration. While the SA Students Congress played a role in the documents formulation, the Democratic Alliance Student organisation was not consulted.

“Students and academic staff with a wide variety of opinions surely need to be consulted, including many whose views may not accord with those of any political party or movement.”

The ANC welcomes the language change proposal – anything to deflect attention from Nzimande’s fantastic f*ckup with the #FeesMustFall movement –, but the Freedom Front Plus isn’t convinced.

“Afrikaans’ 6.8 million speakers is the third largest language in South Africa after Zulu (11.5 million) and Xhosa (8.1 million),” said the FF+’s Pieter Mulder.