Schools face language problems - report

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Johannesburg - Schools are plagued by language problems with at least 30 percent of Grade One pupils not being taught in their home language, it was reported on Thursday.

“When learners do not speak the language of instruction, they find learning difficult and academic achievement is undermined,” a national education evaluation and development unit study found, according to a report in The Times.

The study, of pupils' first three years at school, also found significant differences between spoken African languages and their written forms.

As a result, pupils were often unable to understand national tests, the newspaper reported.

The education department's policy allows for students to be taught in an African language only from Grade One to Grade Three.

Researchers were reportedly concerned that the government's new policy of teaching English as an additional first language from Grade One to Grade Three was not being properly implemented.

The English policy was introduced in 2012 to make sure Grade One pupils were well-grounded in English so they could cope with the all-English curriculum from Grade Four.

However, many teachers did not have the required proficiency in English to teach it effectively from Grade One.

According to The Times, researchers found that some parents were insisting that teaching be exclusively in English. - Sapa

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