Afrikaans being squeezed out at Tukkies - AfriForum Youth

Charl Oberholzer says modules increasingly being taught in English only

UP: 40% of modules not available in Afrikaans: AfriForum Youth submits vote of no confidence against deans

AfriForum Youth today submitted a vote of no confidence against various deans at the University of Pretoria (UP), as recent figures show that up to 40% of modules at the university are not available in Afrikaans. Furthermore, more than a quarter of the remainder of the modules are already double medium.

The calculations are based on the medium of instruction of every module listed in the official 2011 yearbook of every faculty. More than 4 300 modules were reviewed.

"AfriForum Youth's members have indicated that double-medium classes are presented in English, while only questions are allowed in Afrikaans. Therefore, 65,5% of all modules are not offered in Afrikaans," said Charl Oberholzer, National Chairperson of AfriForum Youth.

In a letter to the Chairperson of the UP Board, AfriForum Youth states that Afrikaans students have lost confidence in the respective deans of the Faculties of Veterinary Science, Humanities, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT).

"The situation is in all likelihood even more dire at grassroots level than the figures suggest, as AfriForum Youth received numerous complaints during the year about lectures that are not presented in Afrikaans even though the yearbook indicates that Afrikaans is the medium of instruction."

Oberholzer said that approximately 70,2% of the modules at EBIT, 52% of the modules at the Faculty Natural and Agricultural Sciences and 99% of the modules at the Faculty of Veterinary Science are not presented in Afrikaans at all.

"Almost 65% of the Faculty of Humanities' modules are double medium, which does not promote the sustainability of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction since these classes tend to be given just in English," said Oberholzer.

The situation is more promising at the Faculty of Theology, where 55% of the modules are completely available in Afrikaans. "In all nine faculties of the UP, 33% of the modules are parallel medium and 26% double medium. There is definitely a trend towards double-medium education at the UP," according to Oberholzer.

The situation at other faculties is as follows:

  • The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences offers 39% of its modules completely in Afrikaans.
  • At the Faculty of Education, 22% of the modules are not available in Afrikaans and 46% of the modules are double medium.
  • At the Faculty of Law, almost 50% of the modules are offered in Afrikaans and approximately 38% are double medium.
  • The Faculty of Health Sciences offers 42% of its modules in Afrikaans and 37,5% of its modules in English only.

"The new language policy of the UP was finalised more than a year ago and the plan to implement the policy is still being worked on. The UP management gave AfriForum Youth the assurance during several discussions that they are committed to preserving Afrikaans at the university. Unfortunately, the reality is that language is the first area where universities cut down on expenses."

AfriForum Youth earlier this year also appealed to the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, to review the financing formula for multilingual universities. The Minister recently indicated that the ministerial committee, led by Cyril Ramaphosa, would attend to the matter before March 2012.

"By making the situation of Afrikaans at UP public we hope to convince the UP management that a concerted effort is needed to save Afrikaans at tertiary level," said Oberholzer.

Statement issued by Charl Oberholzer, AfriForum Youth National Chairperson, November 14 2011

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