University of Pretoria Proposes New English Language Policy Amidst Protests


According to a statement on its Facebook page on Monday morning, The University of Pretoria has proposed that all of lectures in the university be offered in English only. The announcement was made irrespective of protests by the students of the University.

After days of protests against language policy by students, the university announced:

“Following many queries, the University wishes to clarify that the proposed way forward on the language policy is that all lectures should be offered in English only.

“To promote multilingualism and student success it is proposed that Afrikaans and Sepedi be used to provide additional support to students.

“Changing the language policy is a statutory process. These proposals have been supported by consensus of the Senate and will be considered by the Council. Any changes to the language policy also have to be submitted to the Minister of Higher Education and Training.”

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The language policy is seen by the university as the way forward for the progress of the University of Pretoria and the students. However, Afrikaans and Sepedi may be used to offer additional support to students.

Dozens of University of Pretoria students were arrested for protesting at the university’s Groenkloof and Hatfield campuses last week.

The arrested students are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning. Meanwhile, some of their supporters have made announcements on social media to gather people for protests outside the court building to disrupt the court session.

Public Protector’s daughter Wenzile Madonsela criticized authorities of the University of Pretoria for turning their backs on students. She also alleged that the pace of the crisis was strengthened by isolation of student leaders.

“They are just agitating and aggravating the students even more. The passive aggression is now gone, there is raw anger where students are tired of being victimized, tired of being second class citizens, tired of the divisions and Afrikaans classes and constantly being undermined by the university,” she said

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