Stellenbosch University has introduced a new policy for the next academic year. This comes after 15 months of discussions and consultations.
The Stellenbosch University Council has approved Stellenbosch University’s new language policy which states that official communication in class will be in English, Afrikaans, and IsiXhosa.
This policy will come into effect at the beginning of the 2022 academic year.
It replaces the 2016 Stellies language policy that was lively-debated.
Student organisation StudentePlein rejected the policy, saying that it represents a continuation of an English university, with Afrikaans and Xhosa decorations on top, brought about by the 2016 language policy.
Council chairperson, George Steyn said:
The revised language policy reaffirms that Stellenbosch University is a national asset in a diverse society,
The views of Afriforum youth manager Bernard Pieters differed as he said that the institution had been ‘re-colonised under new language policy’.
“The fight to keep Afrikaans as an equal language at Maties is over. We as AfriForum Youth will now focus on the preservation of Afrikaans with the aim of restoring it as an equal language in future under a management that focuses on academic progress rather than political ideologies. said Pieters.
Stellenbosch University spokesperson said that the new policy emphasises institutional, but also individual multilingualism, which must lead to a personal attitude towards multilingualism.
“It is, therefore, a multilingualism that speaks not only to the mind but also to the heart. It is also reflected in translanguaging – the use of languages in spaces where people can use different languages and where there is spontaneous and informal interpretation amid mutual respect and tolerance for different language skills,” said Viljoen.
Each faculty will draft implementation plans, which will be reviewed annually.
Students will be able to choose English or Afrikaans-specific classes, a blend of the two languages in a single lesson.
Where possible and feasible support modules in any of the languages, including supplements and support in IsiXhosa.
SU Senior Director Social Impact and Transformation Dr. Leslie Van Rooi said as things progress, and as IsiXhosa develops in terms of its academic abilities that there will be more supporting the learning and teaching material around the in-class setting.
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