ERIC Number: ED427549
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Educational Policy and the Choice of Language in Linguistically Complex South African Schools. Formative Decision-Making by Significant Language Professionals and Governing Bodies. Education Policy Unit (Natal) Research Report.
A 1996 South African law vested elementary/secondary school governing bodies with formation of school policy concerning both language(s) used for instruction and those selected for second-language study. The study reported here investigated the perceptions of language teachers, principals, and governing body members on language policy, policy formation, and governing body membership. Twelve institutions were selected from three heterogeneous language areas of one region, most of them in complex and rapidly changing linguistic environments. A pilot focus group was also conducted with Durban-area teachers from a variety of schools. Results indicate that responses to demographic change among learners has been slow, particularly regarding integration of the language teaching profession and governing bodies. The proposed dual-language-medium system was seen as difficult to sustain. Schools offering Afrikaans as the only language medium have tended to isolate themselves from the integration process occurring nationally. Conflicting demands on resources for changing or maintaining schools' cultural orientation were found. Full development of indigenous languages as languages of instruction is elusive, and there is a growing perception that schools in particular areas may be dominated by governing bodies' choices of indigenous languages, constituting subtle exclusionary practice in some cases. Appended is the Department of Education Language in Education policy. Contains 14 references. (MSE)
Descriptors: African Languages, Afrikaans, Curriculum Design, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, English, Foreign Countries, Governance, Group Membership, Language of Instruction, Language Role, Language Teachers, Multilingualism, Policy Formation, Public Policy, Regional Characteristics, School Desegregation, School Policy, Second Languages, Uncommonly Taught Languages
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Natal Univ., Durban (South Africa). Education Policy Unit.
Identifiers - Location: South Africa