Stellenbosch University ordered to implement ‘equal language’ plan

THE High Court in the Western Cape has ordered Stellenbosch University to implement a plan for language policy developed in 2014 by the end of March that places English and Afrikaans on equal footing, AfriForum Youth said on Friday.

The university had chosen not to oppose the application, brought because 268 course modules in various faculties did not comply with specifications in the language plan.

The university said it had instead asked for an extension of the deadline for implementing the plan already specified in 2016 faculty calendars, from immediately to the end of March.

This would “enable the university to communicate with the campus community and to facilitate practical arrangements”. Various measures, depending on available resources, would also be undertaken to ensure students proficient in neither English nor Afrikaans were not excluded from lectures.

“The university has, in the meantime, started an official process for the revision of the language policy and language plan of 2014,” the university’s statement read.

AfriForum Youth said on Friday the fact it had needed to go to court for the order indicated that current management did not have the interests of students at heart.

“This (court order) is a triumph for the Afrikaans-speaking community in SA,” AfriForum Youth spokesman Hein Gonzales said.

Language policy on campuses across SA is the subject of vigorous debate, as well as protest. Protests over language policy, including the use of Afrikaans, at the University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State briefly shut those institutions in February.

At Stellenbosch University on Thursday night, an office and a vehicle were burnt in suspected cases of arson. The university said on Friday small groups of protestors were also intimidating contracted staff.



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