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Department ready to roll out usage of African language to all Grades

The North West Department of Education and Sport Development is ready to implement the usage of African languages by targeting 119 schools in the province in 2018. The announcement was made during the Incremental Introduction of African Languages - IIAL Summit held at Delareyville in Tswaing Local Municipality to where the department pronounced the state of readiness on the programme.

The IIAL Programme is aimed at strengthening the use of African Languages, improve the proficiency in and utility of the previously marginalized African languages, raise confidence of parents to choose their own languages and increase access to languages by all learners beyond English and Afrikaans. Since 2014 to date the department has on record 50 schools that are incrementally introducing African languages. These schools did not offer a single African language in the past.

Amongst other policies and legislations, the IIAL programme is underpinned by the Constitution of RSA (Bill of Rights). Section 6.4 says - All official language must enjoy parity of esteem and be treated equitable.

According to the Chief Director, Gift Ramadie the usage of African Languages has the potential to promote social-cohesion. “Both government and society should promote and celebrate this form of multilingualism. Knowing each other’s languages can play a profound role in promoting understanding and developing social cohesion” said Ramadie.

Ranieer Swart, a white man who fluently speaks Setswana says there are a lot of opportunities for speaking different language. Amongst other things Swart, who grew up with mostly Sestwana speaking people, is a rugby commentator in a Setswana Radio Station – Motsweding FM.

“Kids needs to learn African languages as there are also many advantages that goes with speaking different African languages. If it wasn’t for Setswana, which I find beautiful, I don’t think I”ll be what I am today” said Swart who addressed the gathering.

MEC for Education and Sports Development Sello Lehare amongst other things the programme is aimed at protecting all African languages.

“It has been proved that there are communities which started using the language other than their native one more and more until their language is no longer used. Through Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal - RHR Programme we are promoting and developing our country’s marginalized African languages in all schools. This will go a long way in restoring their dignity which was eroded by the apartheid regime.

“Our target is to see the teaching of African languages taking place in all targeted schools from Grade 1 in 2018 up to Grade 12 in 2029. We hope that by then, almost all schools that did not offer African languages before would be offering one”, said MEC Lehari.

Teachers will be given support and trained to deal with challenges that might arise. Learners will also be provided with toolkits which will make it easier for them to cope.