n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Nuwe Geletterdhede vir 'n ontluikende nuwe wêreld

Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



This article is concerned with recognizing courses in literacy as making an essential contribution to the central task of the university, and therefore as constituting a proper academic discipline. It is argued that we live in a time of fundamental social changes affecting the nature and function of the university as institution in marginalising the intellectual and foregrounding economic concerns. Courses in literacy were introduced at our universities in reaction to a perceived crisis in the adequacy of literacy competencies amongst matriculants, and with the rather narrow and instrumental aim of improving throughput rates and preventing financial losses for universities and, in a broader sense, society. Central to the process of cementing full academic status for literacy courses is the reformulation of their core function in terms of a capacity to contribute towards securing the university as a space for critical, creative reflection on society and its communicative practices. Such a contribution becomes possible when "literacy" is reconceptualised as "literacies" grounded in social practices.

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