As universities enter the second half of 2022, they are ramping up efforts to accelerate progress toward implementing the Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions requirements, which came into effect in 2022.
Welcoming members of Universities South Africa’s Community of Practice for the Teaching and Learning of African Languages (CoPAL) at their third meeting for the year on 22 June, USAf’s Director: Operations and Sector Support, Dr Linda Meyer, commended them for the milestones achieved in the past two years. She encouraged them to maintain that momentum for the next five years if this group was to realise a more significant impact on the system’s transformation by entrenching multilingualism in teaching and learning.
“We cannot look at the academe the way we did in the past. In our pursuit for making multilingualism a success, we must not lose sight of the systemic and political foundations, as well as institutional dynamics at play,” Dr Meyer said. She went on to say that “we cannot be celebrating people completing PhDs in their mother tongue when that should be a norm and not an exception to the rule. We need to push for more collaboration to build coherency in our actions.”
In his response to Dr Meyer, the Chairperson of CoPAL, who is also the Executive Director at the North-West University-based South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), Professor Langa Khumalo, agreed that “we need to look at the broader ecosystem to identify areas where we can influence change to a bigger effect. I continue to appreciate USAf’s support in our work – which encourages us to push harder to normalise multilingualism… I thank Dr Meyer for her insightful words.”