The Council of the University of Pretoria (UP), in concurrence with the Senate, today supported the adoption of a new language policy in terms of which English will become the primary language of instruction and assessment.
For students who are already registered, the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction will be phased out gradually. The implementation date is subject to the process to be followed with the Department of Higher Education and Training in order to change the statute of the University.
The goal of the new policy is to facilitate social cohesion and promote inclusivity. The University will continue to embrace and encourage multilingualism to foster unity and to provide equal opportunities to speakers of all South African languages.
This decision of the Council and Senate follows after an extensive consultation process and recommendations from all stakeholders, including the language work stream that was formed as part of the Transformation Lekgotla and the Independent Transformation Panel that focused on submissions from external stakeholders. A key factor in the deliberations was the declining proportion of students expressing a preference for Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
It was also decided that Afrikaans must be maintained as a language of scholarship, while the development of Sepedi to a higher level of scientific discourse must be supported and adequately resourced. The Council recommended that management prepare an implementation plan, staffing needs and budget to provide effective language support.