The University of Pretoria is to phase out Afrikaans as the official medium of instruction at all its campuses and residences.
The university will from now only use English as the primary language of communication and administration.
University spokesperson Rikus Delport said the policy was adopted in 2016 by the university’s council and Senate after “extensive consultation process and recommendations from all interested parties”.
“The change in policy is aimed at facilitating social cohesion, and the university will continue to embrace and encourage multilingualism to foster unity and provide equal opportunities to speakers of all South African languages,” he said.
The consultation process included a language work stream that was formed as part of the transformation lekgotla and the independent transformation panel that focused on submissions from external stakeholders.
Delport said the decision from the various interest groups was informed by the findings that the percentage of students who reported their home language to be Afrikaans had decreased from 85% to 30% between 1992 and 2015.
“In 2016, approximately 18% of students expressed a preference for Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.”
He said even though the phasing out would take place this year, it would be done gradually to accommodate Afrikaans students.
The exception would be given where students were studying other languages, and in programmes with profession-specific language outcomes. Such programmes would have to be approved by the Senate, Delport said.
By: The Citizen