Department of basic education says most teachers are not trained to teach in African languages

Department of basic education says most teachers are not trained to teach in African languages.
Department of basic education says most teachers are not trained to teach in African languages.
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South African public schools do not have enough learning and teaching support materials in African languages.

This was heard as the department of basic education was presenting on the second day of the hearings by the commission for the promotion and protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities (CRL Rights Commission) in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Dr Mamiki Maboya, deputy director general: Curriculum, Policy, support and monitoring said teachers were also not trained to teach in African languages beyond grade 3.

“The department has initiated a process to incrementally introduce African languages as languages of learning and teaching post foundation. In partnership with UNICEF, the department is developing a concept paper on mother tongue-based multilingual education,” she said.

The CRL is hosting these hearings in an effort to address the unequal treatment of 11 official languages in South Africa.  The hearing are meant to assess and determine the use and status of the indigenous languages  in offices and positive measures that department are employing to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages.

Maboya also added that the department is working with different stakeholders on initiatives to promote Khoisan languages.

She said the department has put a process in place to translate the curriculum and assessment policy statement (CAPS) into Nama (Khoekhoe language) as recommended by Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).

“The challenge is that the Khoisan is a language family with many languages, some of them are left with very few speakers. However, we are in support of the presidential directive which is to support the work of Ouma Esau towards ensuring that the N!uu languages does not get extinct,” Maboya said.

She said the National Development Plan (NDP) proposes that every South African should learn one of the nine official African languages in schools.

“The development of African languages should incorporate indigenous knowledge systems in education and research. It also acknowledges the role of English as a global language that in the South Africa of 2030, it will be the general language of learning, commerce and administration,” Maboya said.

She said the NDP promotes multilingualism and acknowledges the role that knowing each other’s languages can play in promoting, understanding and developing social cohesion is important.

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