Stellenbosch University to host a language colloquium for higher education institutions
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Stellenbosch University (SU) will be hosting an online language colloquium for public universities on Tuesday and Wednesday (September 28 and 29).
The Colloquium on the New Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions will take place under the auspices of Universities South Africa (USAf) and is a joint project with USAf’s Community of Practice for the Teaching and Learning of African Languages (CoPAL) and SU.
This will be the first in a series of events to be hosted by universities on the New Language Policy for Higher Education, which was gazetted in October 2020.
Vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors will gather with experts and other stakeholders to contemplate ways to implement the policy.
Some of the speakers include Justice Albie Sachs, retired judge of the South African Constitutional Court, and vice-chancellors of, among others, the universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town and the Free State, as well as Rhodes University.
According to USAf, the Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions “has brought the language question sharply to the fore. Higher education institutions have developed university language policies, but there is a significant need for key stakeholders in the sector to deepen their understanding of the Language Policy Framework and the implementation thereof”.
Dr Sizwe Mabizela, vice-chancellor and principal of Rhodes University and the chairperson of USAf’s Teaching and Learning Strategy Group, said: “We must take the language policy from the periphery that it occupies within our institutions and place it at the centre of vice-chancellors’ strategic outlook. This is central to acknowledging the diversity of our students on our institutions.”
Professor Wim de Villiers, the rector of SU, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with other universities.
“At SU we are aware of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the implementation of a language policy, how it aligns itself with the Language Policy for Higher Education, and the fierce debate it creates. And we welcome this debate. Collaboration is key. Our honest conversations can lead to solutions. Through actions like these we can come to a deeper understanding of the value of multilingualism,” he said.