Boost for indigenous languages
THE BHISHO administration in Eastern Cape is in the process of pushing through legislation that will allow parents to challenge former Model C schools to accept indigenous languages.
A white paper is being drafted to formulate a bill to be sent out for public comment.
If passed, the bill will mean that former Model C schools will have to accept languages such as isiXhosa or any other indigenous language if a parent takes the school governing bodyto court.
The provincial government plans to have the bill ready by the end of the current financial year.
This was revealed by a senior official in the department of sports, recreation, arts and culture (Dsrac).
Government authorities said at the Eastern Cape education department language and mathematics indaba last Thursday that some former Model C schools in the province were resistant to allow isiXhosa as a first additional language.
Education MEC Mandla Makupula said senior officials in his department fear to intervene into language policy matters at former Model C schools.
Dsrac assistant manager in the language section, Mcoseleli Dukisa, said: "The Language Act is being formed ... and a white paper is planned to be in place at least by the end of the year and then a bill can be sent out for public comment."
He said those Model C schools that resisted compliance with the act would be prosecuted.
Dukisa said there was no such legislation in the province at the moment.
He said this meant that there was no piece of legislation to support Ayanda Duma's case other than the South African Schools' Act.
Duma, a mother of two, took Gonubie Primary School to court over a language policy dispute.
Duma went to court to force the school to make isiXhosa a first additional language.
Pan South African Language Board provincial senior language practitioner Lukhanyo Sigonyela confirmed that the province was lagging behind in forming the legislation.
The Western Cape is the only province having passed the act.
Sigonyela said parents were being forced by principals, even at rural schools, to accept English as the home language or language of instruction.
"Principals, who are middle-class and have their children studying at former Model C schools, are elevating the use of English at rural schools to the detriment of children."
Eastern Cape education department language policy manager Naledi Mbudeshale said the act had nothing to do with the department, "but would allow parents to challenge schools".