A picture shows on February 7, 2013 a blackboard at the Alapha Secondary School in Bayswater, a village near Limpopo, South Africa. The school, built by parents in 1985, welcomes in its five classrooms students from poor background. Without library, laboratory or running water, teachers and pupils are even determined to improve the last year results, Principal Jonas Ramapuputla said.   AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Johannesburg - Afrikaans will be the medium of instruction at Fochville High School following a settlement between the school and the Gauteng education department, Afriforum said on Wednesday.

The civil rights group's deputy CEO Alana Bailey called it a “victory for the right of learners to be educated in their mother tongue”.

The department was not immediately available for comment.

Afriforum and the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas) had supported the parents and the school through its legal process, she said.

“The department has to acknowledge the right of learners to mother tongue education and the advantages thereof... (It) did not hesitate to abuse the children and use them as pawns in their ideological struggle against Afrikaans.”

Bailey said those involved in the fight to keep Afrikaans as the medium of instruction had done well to ensure the children were not disadvantaged.

In 2012 the department forced the school to accommodate 42 English-speaking pupils, even though there were alternative schools in the area.

The school was unable to do so due to a lack of space and facilities, Bailey said.

Sapa