By Education Writer

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has appealed to parents to enrol their children in schools where they can be educated in their mother tongue.

It also urged parents to put more pressure on the government to provide mother-tongue education where it is not yet available and to halt any effort to curtail mother-tongue education where it is being provided.

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said matric results confirmed that pupils who received mother-tongue education performed better than those who were educated in a second or third language.

It had been proven that pupils found it easier to master new concepts and skills in their mother tongue.

Kriel said mother-tongue education should enjoy preference for as long as possible, even to postgraduate level, as this would be to the advantage of students, especially in subjects such as maths and natural science.

He said non-English speaking children who attend English schools often paid the price later in life.

"Parents who are considering their children's future careers and income have to insist that their children are educated in their mother-tongue," said Kriel.

Penny Vinjevold, provincial head of education, said the Western Cape Education Department supported mother-tongue education where practicable.

It launched a project in 2007 aimed at promoting mother-tongue-based bilingual education in primary schools. A pilot programme is running in 16 schools.