KiSwahili in schools? But not at expense of indigenous languages says expert

South African pupils will have the option to take up KiSwahili as an optional second additional language from 2020.

The announcement was made on Monday by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega that the language has been approved and will be offered to pupils in South African schools.

Is South Africa ready for this type of shift?

Sizwe Mpofu -Walsh on the Eusebius McKaiser Show hosts a panel discussion with PanSALB chairperson Dr David wa Maahlamela and UCT Multilingual and Multiliteracies lecturer Xolisa Guzula.

RELATED: Basic Education to introduce Kiswahili and coding to SA's curriculum

Wa Maahlamela says his organisation is excited by the move to recognise one of Africa's indigenous languages like KiSwahili.

Guzula says even though KiSwahili has been recognised, she has reservations with it being introduced at schools when the country has not even implemented its own indigenous languages as mediums of instruction.

To now say let's have KiSwahili in schools and make the resources available for teaching KiSwahili, when we haven't made resources available for our own indigenous languages, this can be problematic.

Xolisa Guzula, Multilingual and Multiliteracies lecturer - UCT

She says she welcomes that there are other Africans living in South Africa that speak KiSwahili and there is a need to include those Africans, but that inclusion should not happen at the expense of South African indigenous languages in the country.

Wa Maahlamela adds that there is a huge contradiction between the Constitution of the country and language policies and frameworks within the education sector.

Listen below to this insightful conversation below:


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