n South African Journal of Higher Education - Imagining a multilingual academy : rethinking language in higher education : perspectives on higher education

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Language affects all aspects of the academy as a platform for the cultivation of critical thinking. The extension of multilingualism (ie "more people using more languages in more registers and in more domains") in higher education would contribute significantly to "improving the quality of the higher education sector". A uniform bilingual model for all institutions of learning is defended, and it is argued that the creation of a multilingual academy in South Africa is crucial for managing the tensions between (1) "educational quality, equity and justice", (2) "student responsibility and educator accountability", (3) "state planning and academic freedom", (4) "international competitiveness and community development", and (5) "research and social relevance". This is so because the extension of multilingualism would contribute to the simultaneous achievement of all these different goals, thereby helping to reconcile them.

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