Principal in South Africa opposed to students learning a language they don't have to learn

Sunday, November 01, 2009

This is a pretty funny story. In South Africa there are eleven official languages and students are to learn at least two of them in school. This often results in students learning both English and Afrikaans, but depending on one's mother tongue it may also be English and Zulu, English and Xhosa, etc. A principal from an Indian school in South Africa has recently been ranting against the teaching of Afrikaans in his school, in spite of the fact that the school is perfectly free to go with English and another official language of the country instead.

The reason why the school won't go with another language, of course, is that all the other languages besides Afrikaans and English are so hard to learn. The other choices are IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati,  Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.

The principal has been making the argument that students won't need to use Afrikaans after they learn it, but let's not forget its huge similarities to Dutch, as well as other Germanic languages. Being fluent in two Germanic languages can only be good for a student who later on wishes to learn other languages in the same family tree.

6 comments:

lyzazel said...

Well, not all students are linguists or language-lovers that later on go on learning languages in different families. I'd even argue, most aren't.

While it's useful to know almost any language, I don't think it should be obligatory at schools.

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

Shouldn't a country with 11 (!) official language be a bit more demanding of the students though? Citizens of Luxembourg have no problem knowing at least three and usually four (French, German, Luxemburgois/ese, English).

lyzazel said...

Well, I am generally opposed to obligatory subjects anywhere. I don't think there should be any.

Students can learn those languages that they do indeed need to use out of school. They can learn the languages that they might want to use in school. They are not really going to learn a language that they don't think they will use and they only have to learn it because it's obligatory anyway.

Vivaldi said...

Li problema es que ne omni persones save quel lingues ili va besonar in future. Sovente quande on fini studies on regreta que durant sustudies li apprension de lingues es tro sovente negliget. Yun infantes ne posse pensar prudentmen e pro manca del motivation li lingual education es tre mal.

lyzazel said...

Well, I am generally opposed to obligatory subjects anywhere. I don't think there should be any.

Students can learn those languages that they do indeed need to use out of school. They can learn the languages that they might want to use in school. They are not really going to learn a language that they don't think they will use and they only have to learn it because it's obligatory anyway.

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

Shouldn't a country with 11 (!) official language be a bit more demanding of the students though? Citizens of Luxembourg have no problem knowing at least three and usually four (French, German, Luxemburgois/ese, English).

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