English-only language policy will cause UP financial damage – AfriForum Youth

Organisation says Afrikaans students pay university up to R460 million annually

English-only language policy will cause UP financial damage

25 May 2016

AfriForum Youth is of the opinion that should the University of Pretoria (UP) decide to become a unilingual English university, it will lead to serious financial damage. This follows after a provisional proposal by the language policy working group of the UP that favours an English-only language policy, did the rounds. This also led to the withdrawal of AfriForum Youth from the Transformation Workstream of the UP, which includes this language policy working group.

According to Henrico Barnard, AfriForum Youth’s Spokesperson at Tuks, 14 700 of the 49 000 students studying at Tuks are Afrikaans speaking. Study fees amount to approximately R31 000 per year, which means that Afrikaans students pay the UP up to R460 million annually.   

An estimated R678 million from state subsidies is awarded to the UP for Afrikaans speaking students. This means that a third of the University’s income, approximately R1,1 billion, comes from the Afrikaans community. 

Historical Afrikaans universities that did away with Afrikaans as administrative and instruction medium, serve as proof of the negative financial implications that such a decision has on a university. “UP is running the same risk should they decide to abolish Afrikaans,” said Barnard.

AfriForum Youth said Prof Niek Grové, Registrar, repeatedly said that Afrikaans is becoming unaffordable for the University. However, the University could not yet give a cost implication of Afrikaans. AfriForum Youth will now conduct an estimation thereof themselves.

“If the UP turns its back on the Afrikaans community, it will cause serious damage to Afrikaans as language and its relationship with the Afrikaans community,” Barnard added.

He said the youth organisation is busy compiling a memorandum containing workable language solutions that will be affordable, inclusive and multilingual. “What is needed now is that Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Rector, and Grové start applying the language policy that accommodates all students.”      

Issued by Henrico Barnard, Spokesperson: Tuks AfriForum Youth, 25 May 2016