The language debate promoting social cohesion


  • Hon. Speaker,
    Hon. Members,
    Members of the Gallery,
    Comrades and Friends.

    Hon. Speaker, Higher Education institutions in South Africa are still dealing with social, political and economic discrimination and inequalities of class, race and gender.  The South African Constitution of 1996 and the 1997 White Paper directed the state and higher education institutions to realize profound and wide ranging imperatives and goals.  The White Paper identified various social purposes of higher education institutions such as “to undertake the production, acquisition and application of new knowledge and contribute to the creation, sharing and evaluation of knowledge”.

    Hon. Speaker, I pose the following questions to the House;

    1. How can social cohesion and the sharing of new knowledge take place in a higher education institution such as the University of the Free State where the English and Afrikaans students are separated?
    2. How does this practice ensure that there is no form of exclusion in a higher education institution?

    Ek welkom die debat duer die rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen by die universiteit oor die gebruik van Afrikaans en Engles by the universiteit.  Volgens Jansen, is dit duidelik dat die bestaande tallbeleid van UV vir die meeste van die student op kampus en, hy vermoed vir baie van die personeellede ‘n problem.  Prof. Jansen maak die volgende drie sleutelpunte vir ‘n enkelmedium onderrigtaal;

    a)         Die praktyk van afsonderlike klasse in Afrikaans en Engels lei tot skeiding van rasse, aangesien die meeste swart student in Engels klasdraf en die Afrikaanse klasse hoofsaaklik deur wit student bygewoon word.

    b)         Die vermoede bestaan dat student in Afrikaanse klasse bevoordeel word wat betref “eksamineerbare inhoud”, aangesien die opsomming van die hoofsaaklik Engelstalige handboeke net die noodsaaklikste inligting bevat wat nodig is om te leer.

    c)         Die herhaling van klasse in Afrikaans en Engels plaas n dubbele werklading op dosente terwyl hulle die tyd vrugbaarder aan navorsing en ander akademiese pligte kan bestee.

    Therefore, Hon. Speaker I welcome this proactive approach by the University of the Free State and also need to acknowledge that this debate included all those parties involved at the university and not just senior management.  Higher education institution is also a platform where students need to practice their democratic rights, engage and share new knowledge and ideas.  This approach towards having only one medium language will certainly promote transformation and enhance learning while eradicating social, political and economic exclusion.

    Thank you.

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