UP’s Centre for Language Learning to boost English language skills of non-native speakers

Posted on August 10, 2022

The University of Pretoria (UP) recently launched the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) to offer courses in English as a foreign language to non-native speakers.

The Centre, an initiative of the Faculty of Humanities, provides short courses that will enable international students to develop their language proficiency for tertiary studies. The first course started on 22 March 2022 and included students from various countries, including Benin, Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“The Centre provides students from countries in which English is not an official language with the opportunity to improve their English to the level required for university admission,” said Dr Trish Cooper, Head of the CLL. “The course books are published by international publishing company National Geographic, and are designed to explore a range of different cultures, lifestyles and environmental issues around the world.”

Head of the Centre for Language Learning Dr Trish Cooper, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers Siphesihle Mncube and Jessica Makhari, advanced EFL student Ketsia Kijege and UP Vice-Chancellor Prof Tawana Kupe.

From left: Head of the Centre for Language Learning Dr Trish Cooper, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers Siphesihle Mncube and Jessica Makhari, advanced EFL student Ketsia Kijege and UP Vice-Chancellor Prof Tawana Kupe.

There are six proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced. The advanced course focuses on English for academic purposes as well as preparation for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. In pursuit of its vision of being a national and continental leader in the field of language teaching, the Centre will also offer part-time courses in English as a second language for South Africans who would like to improve their skills, typically to increase their chances of promotion within the workplace. In addition, the CLL aims to offer part-time courses in English as a foreign language to diplomats who work full-time.

In 2016, the UP Council adopted a language policy in which English was made the primary medium of instruction with a goal to facilitate social cohesion and promote inclusivity.

“The University is committed to providing students from all cultures and backgrounds with an opportunity to access its educational and research programmes,” said Professor Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. “UP has several international students who are not necessarily fluent in English, our medium of instruction, which is one reason why this Centre is important. Building proficiency in any language, especially English, will increase the confidence of these students and improve their academic skills. We are proud to be able to contribute to their success.”

Interested participants can visit the Centre’s website and complete the application process by following three simple steps.

“Firstly, applicants need to provide their full names, passport details and the date/s of the course/s they would like to attend,” Dr Cooper explained. “They will receive an invoice for the course fee, which completes the registration process. Once we receive proof of payment, we will issue an acceptance letter; this enables international students to apply for a study visa for the period of the course/s they plan to attend; we will also offer accommodation details.”

- Author Paseka Elcort Gaola
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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