Cosas calls for language diversity in exams
Sadtu agrees with the student body
The Congress of SA Students (Cosas) has again called for all 11 official languages to be treated equally in education.
This, Cosas said, would result in an improved pass rate among many African-language speakers.
The organisation representing pupils made the call during a conference held in Midrand yesterday on using multi-lingualism to promote social cohesion.
The event hosted by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) was to observe International Mother Language Day.
The dialogue also came a month after the language policy at schools came under scrutiny via the incident at Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging, Vaal Triangle.
The school refused to admit 55 pupils who wanted instruction in English, citing lack of capacity at the Afrikaans-medium school.
Cosas president John Macheke said pupils should be allowed to write maths, science and geography in their mother tongue.
“Pupils from rural and township schools are taught in English and indigenous languages but you get question papers that are written in English or Afrikaans only.
“The question papers should be in our mother tongues to make it easier for us to pass,” Macheke said.
The SA Democratic Teachers union’s head of research David Matsepe also said all languages should be used at schools.
“We are here to make sure indigenous languages are prioritised in conducting teaching and learning. At the moment South Africa focuses on two minority languages [English and Afrikaans],” he said.
Chief education specialist Mlamli Matshingana said everyone has the right to receive education in their mother tongue or the language of their choice.
“In 2001 we agreed in [the] school system that all languages should be uniformed. The department has attempted to address the problem of social cohesion at schools by coming with incremental introduction of African languages.” He said there were plans to add sign language as the 12th official language.