Schools To Take A Compulsory African Language Policy Come 2017


In a bid to further inculcate the learning of indigenous language in schools, the Gauteng schools will be taking the lead by introducing a new language policy for all grade 1 pupils starting from 2017 academic session.

According to report from New Age, the Gauteng government is making it compulsory for all Grade 1 pupils to take an African language as a second language from next year.

The additional language would not be replacing the Afrikaans as Afrikaans would still form part of the languages available in the three language subjects to be taken.

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This means that other African languages beyond English and Afrikaans must be learnt by pupils in Grade one come next year’s session.

According to the Gauteng education department, the policy, called the Incremental Introduction of the African Languages (IIAL), is still being finalised, but will automatically take off as stated.

the department further stated that the policy would not only help pupils in basic education have a more positive attitude towards school but also that it will:

  • Improve proficiency in and utility of African languages at Home Language level, so that learners are able to use their home language proficiently.
  • Increase access to languages by all learners, beyond English and Afrikaans, by requiring all non-African Home Language speakers to learn an African language; and
  • promote social cohesion and economic empowerment and expand opportunities for the development of African languages as a significant way of preserving heritage and cultures.

The language policy will be trialed first at 12 schools in Gauteng, where 16 teachers have been allocated. Once the trial is over, a budget will be made available for a full roll-out. The subjects will be carried through to grade 12 and in grades 1-9, learners must pass the third required official language at first additional language level at achievement level 3 (40-49%)

In the Further Education and Training (FET) phase, the third required official language must be passed at level 2 (30-39%) provided that the official language at home language level has been passed at level 3 (40-49%), the department said.

The department also added that 2 hours of instruction time a week have been proposed  to be added to pupils in grade 1 and 2 to make room for the new languages – and additional 3 hours for grade 3. But for those in the intermediate and senior phases, an additional 5 hours per week would be added, taking the average school day up from 5.5 hours a day to 6.5 hours a day.

Grade 1 to Grade 3 pupils will now be taking these five compulsory subjects under the IIAL:

  1. Home language
  2. First additional language
  3. Second additional language
  4. Mathematics
  5. Life skills

However, the second additional language policy would be faced with the challenge of having skilled teachers on all SA official languages. but the department proposed two solutions to this one of which is  that there would be  dominant languages side to side with minority languages.

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The Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas) however welcomed the move.Its CEO Paul Colditz said Fedsas supports the policy fully as there is need to promote multilanguages in schools, especially for those that were previously marginalised