South African schools to drop Zulu and Xhosa languages, stirring debate
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:50 am, Wed Jan 25, 2012.
South African schools to drop Zulu and Xhosa languages, stirring debateBy Fungai MaborekeNew York Amsterdam News | 0 comments
Jan. 24 (GIN) - South African Model C primary
schools have been quietly removing Zulu and
Xhosa languages from their curriculum leaving
English and Afrikaans, popularly known as "the
oppressors' language" during the apartheid era
as the medium of Instruction.
The move was described as "tragic" by academics
even though Afrikaans appears to be the next
dominant idiom after English.
Officially, students should be taught in their mother
tongue from Grades 1 to 3, but a survey by the
Sunday Times newspaper found this was not
happening. In fact, by the time they got to 12th
year, most pupils were opting for Afrikaans as their
first additional language after English with 68,455
choosing Afrikaans, 10,943 choosing Zulu and 1,547
A letter from Mntomuhle Khawula of the Inkatha
Freedom Party and an education advisor, was
particularly critical: "Exclusion of African languages
(isiZulu and isiXhosa) in some former Model C Primary
schools is systematically discriminating and singling
out certain racial groups."
"We cannot sideline our African languages because
not only is it an insult to those who speak it but it's
reviving the struggle of languages like it happened
many years ago with Bantu education, we need to
find a curriculum that will accommodate each and
Bobby Soobrayan, director of basic education,
countered: "It is misleading to say that because
of government policy, schools are scrapping African
languages in favor of Afrikaans..." However, he
added, "Because school governing bodies determine
the language policy, some schools choose to offer
Afrikaans as the first additional language."
Soobrayan insisted: "What we want to see is every
pupil being competent in an African language when
they leave school."