n South African Journal of Higher Education - Making the role of African languages in higher education a reality

Volume 19, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Institutions of Higher Education in South Africa are increasingly opting for education through the medium of English only. Teaching and learning through the medium of English in higher education is also prevalent in many countries in Africa, despite the fact that this is the second or third language of most of the learners on this continent. The arguments in favour of teaching and learning through the medium of only English, especially with regards to speakers of the African languages, rely heavily on issues of practicality and use the discourse of globalisation and empowerment as their main point of departure. In the South African context various authors have challenged the 'myths' around the so-called problems related to bilingual and multilingual education, at school level and in higher education, and have debunked the arguments with regard to globalisation and empowerment at a conceptual level. However, it is important to come up with practical suggestions as to how such alternatives will work, especially in countries where intensive research into the development of the indigenous languages for science and commerce still needs to take place. The authors of this article suggest ways in which bi-/multilingualism can be accommodated within higher education, and discuss a possible framework for implementation.

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