Cosas calls for lan­guage di­ver­sity in ex­ams

Sadtu agrees with the stu­dent body

Sowetan - - News - By Yoliswa Sobuwa

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.


Cosas pres­i­dent John Macheke and CRL Com­mis­sion chair Thoko Mkhwanaz­iXaluva on In­ter­na­tional Mother Lan­guage Day.

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