The affordable education loan option
Bloemfontein - Free State University rector Jonathan Jansen is wrong if he pleads that all school education in South Africa should be in English, FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Wednesday.
“He (Jansen) confuses proper education principles with his own hidden nation building recipe.”
Mulder was reacting to media reports on Jansen saying teaching in English from school to university level could be the solution to South Africa’s education problems.
Delivering the Percy Baneshik Memorial Lecture last month, Jansen said many parents already preferred English as teaching language because they knew the country’s economy was organised on English terms.
“Therefore, the chances of success are much greater.”
Mulder said English as a learning subject should be compulsory for all South African children up to university level.
“This is different from making English the only language of instruction in education.”
Mulder said research globally showed mother tongue education was best for knowledge transfer.
Jansen’s argument for English as the best language for reconciliation and nation building was also wrong.
“An important aspect of a person’s being and dignity is acknowledging his mother tongue,” said Mulder.
The Christian Democratic Party said Jansen’s suggestion was not scientifically sound and in conflict with the Constitution.
AfriForum said the necessity for single-medium schools in pupils' mother tongue was acknowledged internationally. The civil rights group's deputy CEO Alana Bailey said quality education would only be accomplished by, among others, better teacher training and stopping the destabilising influence of some education unions.
Replying to the reports on Twitter on Wednesday, Jansen said a careful argument on language in education had been distorted to create media hype.
“It still amazes me how a careful argument about language inclusivity can be seriously distorted for maximum media hype,” he said on his Twitter account.
Afrikaans newspapers Beeld and Die Volksblad published front page articles on Wednesday on Jansen's opinion that exclusive white Afrikaans schools and universities held a danger for race relations in South Africa.
This was Jansen's second run-in with newspapers this year over the way his remarks were reported.
In April, Jansen said reports that he told students, “Don't you also wish he (former president Nelson Mandela) would die?” misrepresented what he said.
“My argument was that Madiba had done so much for South Africa, that he had served South Africa well, and that sometimes you just wish that people would leave him alone so that he can pass his final days quietly,” he said at the time.
Wednesday marked the 32nd day since Mandela was discharged from a Pretoria hospital, where he spent nearly three months being treated for a recurring lung infection.