n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Academic literacy curriculum renewal at a South African university : a case study

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



The number of students admitted by universities in South Africa has grown tremendously in the past two to three decades. Most of these students, however, graduate from high school without having gained the academic literacy ability required for success at university. A result of this has been that the students struggle to handle the demands of university education in English, the medium of instruction at these institutions. This causes them to fail to complete their studies in the scheduled time and even to drop out. South African universities have responded to this challenge by introducing academic literacy programmes to help the students bridge the language gap between high school and university. These universities spend large sums of money on academic literacy development requirements such as teachers, learning materials and general administration. It is important therefore that the academic literacy courses offered by such universities are effectively designed and taught. The Central University of Technology (CUT) introduced its first academic language programme in 2007. To date, three academic language courses have been offered under the auspices of this programme. The first of these courses was borrowed from another university and was taught at CUT until the end of 2009. The second one was developed by the academic language development staff inside CUT and was introduced at the beginning of 2010. The whole of 2013 was spent on designing and developing yet another academic language course inside the university, which was introduced in January 2014. This paper is a case study of the curriculum renewal process that went into this project.

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