n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Some reflections on the use of English as a medium of instruction in the Ikhwelo Project




Project Literacy was involved in a partnership with the South African Department of Education from April 1999 until April 2003 for the implementation of a pilot project. The purpose of this pilot was to introduce electives in the subject Agriculture and small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME) as part of the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) in Public Adult Learning Centres (PALCs) in mainly rural areas in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo Province. The objective was to enable previously disadvantaged adults simultaneously, to obtain credits towards a GETC at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 1 and to establish sustainable small businesses as a means of alleviating poverty. Adults wishing to enrol in the Ikhwelo Project were required to have at least Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) Level 3 competency in English communication and numeracy. Certain prior assumptions made by the Department of Education were subsequently proved to be incorrect. These assumptions and their negative impact on the project and, in particular, the progress of the learners, will be discussed in this article. The implications of combining an outcomes-based approach to teaching/learning with non-mother tongue instruction is also discussed. This information, as well as the findings of two research projects and Ikhwelo staff members form the basis for recommendations for solving some of the problems arising from the Ikhwelo experience.


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