Stellenbosch University building. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
Stellenbosch University building. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Maties approves language policy and reaffirms its commitment to multilingualism

By Harvest Thwala Time of article published Dec 3, 2021

Share this article:

The Stellenbosch University (SU) Council has approved the proposed new Language Policy for the institution.

The new language policy, approved on Thursday, will allow students and teachers to teach and communicate in three official languages of the Western Cape, namely Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa in teaching and communication.

The 2021 SU Language Policy elaborates as follows on the benefits of this approach: “Multilingualism equips students to tap into a broader and more diverse knowledge base; to engage with society in a way that speaks to the heart, not just the mind; to be dynamic professionals, able to better demonstrate problem-solving, listening and interpersonal skills; and to be well-rounded individuals who can make informed decisions that take more than just their own thinking into consideration.”

According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Deresh Ramjugernath the revised Language Policy for the institution will advance student success, as it will create a conducive teaching and learning environment both in and outside the classroom, in student communities and in social spaces.

“We respect language rights and believe that our students have more choices, more access and a better future as a result of the approach followed in our Language Policy,” said Prof Ramjugermath.

On November 26, 2021, Senate approved the final draft of the Language Policy (2021) by an overwhelming majority and recommended the document to Council.

According to the Higher Education Act and the SU Statute, the Language Policy is the only policy to be approved by the Council with the concurrence of the Senate. Two weeks earlier, the Institutional Forum (IF) also adopted the final draft and recommended it to Council.

In a statement, the SU said all official internal communication – i.e. communication from the Chancellor, Council, Senate, Rector or another member of top management to the entire University would be conveyed in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. Afrikaans, English and, where reasonably practicable, isiXhosa, are SU’s languages of external communication as well. And in student communities (residences and private student organisations), the use of language should ensure that everyone is included and can participate.

The New language policy will be implemented from January 1, 2022.

Share this article: