30/05/2016 Some students at University of Pretoria are seen walking near an information board giving directions both in Afrikaans and English. Picture: Phill Magakoe
30/05/2016 Some students at University of Pretoria are seen walking near an information board giving directions both in Afrikaans and English. Picture: Phill Magakoe

‘Afrikaans must go’

By VIRGILATTE GWANGWA Time of article published May 31, 2016

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Pretoria - The University of Pretoria moved a step closer towards changing its language policy when the transformation lekgotla adopted a proposal that English be the only medium of instruction for lectures, assessments and tutorials.

The lekgotla sat at the weekend, barely a week after students threatened to disrupt mid-year exams due to the continued use of Afrikaans plus the related culture.

It was attended by management, academic staff, student leaders and various political movements represented on campus.

The groups tabled their reports based on consultations conducted since the last sitting in March.

Student Representative Council (SRC) leader Thabo Shigange said the lekgotla received reports from the work streams such as language, curriculum transformation as well as institutional and residence culture. It also engaged on the report and subsequently adopted the recommended policy.

“The policy proposed English as the only medium of instruction for lectures, assessments and tutorials. It is our responsibility as the SRC to have the policy passed through senate on June 2 before the council sitting of June 30.”

AfriForum representatives were apparently not happy about the adopted recommendations.

Shigange confirmed the adoption of recommended language policy was agreed without AfriForum, whose members disagreed and subsequently left halfway through proceedings. The Pretoria News could not reach the organisation for comment.

“The university has undergone language changes before. This is nothing new; the university must adapt to its current nature. This is a process UP cannot deny nor escape,” Shigange said.

University spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said the recommendations made at the lekgotla were exactly that: recommendations. The lekgotla had no decision-making powers. Only the council, with the agreement of the senate, could determine the language policy at UP, she said.

The war against the Afrikaans language and culture at UP first flared up in February, leading to violence and suspension of classes. At least 27 student leaders were arrested and charged with public violence and malicious damage to property. At the time, students ran amok and damaged property, leading to the suspension of all academic activities for days.

Pretoria News

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