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Praat or speak but don't thetha: Language rights and social justice in multilingual South Africa

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Abstract:

In a country such as South Africa where difference has historically meant inequality, there is tremendous suspicion around mother tongue education. It is assumed that equality equals English medium education for all. I argue that equality in the South African context equals extended mother tongue education for all PLUS effective access to English. The first section of this paper contextualises the problem. The next section explores some of the effects of current practices in language in education policy in South Africa. In particular, it focuses on the crisis in literacy at school level where speakers of African languages perform very poorly in English literacy tests. It then proceeds to provided a snapshot of what learners can do in isiXhosa, the local Aftican language, and English. The final section looks at a research project in progress in the Western Cape [Language of instruction in Tanzania and South Africa (LOITASA)] which has extended mother tongue (in this case, isiXhosa) as a medium beyond the initial three years of schoolng to the end of the sixth year. The paper concludes by questioning under what conditions the positive effects of mother tongue education can be mainstreamed beyond small scale research projects such as LOITASA. Recent developments in the Western Cape are referred to in this regard.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486295_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Desai, Zubeida. "Praat or speak but don't thetha: Language rights and social justice in multilingual South Africa" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486295_index.html>

APA Citation:

Desai, Z. K. , 2011-04-30 "Praat or speak but don't thetha: Language rights and social justice in multilingual South Africa" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486295_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In a country such as South Africa where difference has historically meant inequality, there is tremendous suspicion around mother tongue education. It is assumed that equality equals English medium education for all. I argue that equality in the South African context equals extended mother tongue education for all PLUS effective access to English. The first section of this paper contextualises the problem. The next section explores some of the effects of current practices in language in education policy in South Africa. In particular, it focuses on the crisis in literacy at school level where speakers of African languages perform very poorly in English literacy tests. It then proceeds to provided a snapshot of what learners can do in isiXhosa, the local Aftican language, and English. The final section looks at a research project in progress in the Western Cape [Language of instruction in Tanzania and South Africa (LOITASA)] which has extended mother tongue (in this case, isiXhosa) as a medium beyond the initial three years of schoolng to the end of the sixth year. The paper concludes by questioning under what conditions the positive effects of mother tongue education can be mainstreamed beyond small scale research projects such as LOITASA. Recent developments in the Western Cape are referred to in this regard.


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