Unisa In Court Over Language Policy

Unisa wants to phase out Afrikaans as a language of teaching and learning and the Constitutional Court is set to make a  decision on the matter today. But is revising the university's language policy unconstitutional? 


The University of South Africa (Unisa) is seeking to do away with courses taught in Afrikaans and enhancing the status of indigenous languages. But is this unconstitutional?

Well, the university will find out today as the constitutional court is due to make a decision on whether Unisa can proceed with these changes in its language policy.

History Professor, Pitika Ntuli, believes that the decision to phase out Afrikaans is not unconstitutional but rather one that is long overdue.

According to Ntuli, the language has historically been favoured at the expense of all the country's other indigenous languages which benefited its speakers in all areas of learning. He says it may be time for that to be the case with South Africa's indigenous languages.

Our education system is western-based, it shuts out the majority of the people. So we should be learning from Afrikaans itself because when they developed the language they translated their economics, history, philosophy, mathematics in order to let ordinary Afrikaaner people even in the villages contribute to the homework of the chilldren. This is not the case with us black people.   

He also states that any nation that is not using its language is still a captured and mentally enslaved nation, adding that this is something that South Africa should avoid being known for.

Ntuli also points to the negative historical connotations of Afrikaans as being among the reasons why the country's education system should revise how it views the language.

The professor also points out that these necessary changes can be achieved by the government allocating all the necessary resources towards experts who can up with practical solutions towards this transition in Unisa'a language policy.

A ruling is yet to be announced.

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