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Friday, 30 September 2016

Language Indaba debates multilingualism in higher education

LANGUAGE TALK: The language specialists, curriculum officers, academics and students who addressed yesterday’s Language Indaba on the Bellville Campus LANGUAGE TALK: The language specialists, curriculum officers, academics and students who addressed yesterday’s Language Indaba on the Bellville Campus

The second CPUT Language Indaba this year brought together academics as well as Language Rights and Translation practitioners to interrogate the university’s language policy.

Held on the Bellville Campus yesterday, the indaba was organized by the Language Working Group in collaboration with Fundani’s Language Unit under the title, The Language Question at CPUT: Marginalisation or Empowerment?

Prof Ken Barris from the Engineering Department, discussed the process followed to develop the university’s Language Policy, what its implementation has achieved and the road map of what has yet to happen.  

Delivering the keynote address, Prof Pamela Maseko from the Rhodes University’s School of African Languages, said the language problem affects all those living in South Africa.

“While there have been some institutions that have pioneered with teaching, learning and research practices that embrace African Languages others continue to ignore their relevance in higher education,” said Maseko.

She argued that monolingualism at national universities flies in the face of statutory language policies which recognize the importance of both individual and societal multilingualism.

Dr Nina Du Toit, former Head of CPUT’s Disability Unit, discussed how lecturers can support students with disabilities concerning learning, language and speech so that they perform at their optimal best.

Dr Nomfundo Mali, Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) provincial manager, discussed pieces of legislation that guarantee language rights to individuals and the government’s role in developing those languages.

Dr Sebolelo Mokapela from Parliament’s Language Services Section, Western Cape Language Services’ Xolisa Tshongolo and CPUT’s Thembinkosi Mtonjeni (Student Learning Unit) reflected on the translation practices in their institutions.  

The Indaba, which was supported by PanSALB, was attended by language specialists, curriculum officers, students and academics.  

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.