First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Language policy -- South Africa, Language and education -- South Africa, English language -- Study and teaching -- South Africa, Bilingual education -- South Africa, Language and languages -- Study and teaching -- South Africa



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 147 pages)


The dismantling of apartheid laws, the all-race elections of 1994, and a new Constitution signal opportunities for fundamental change in South Africa's educational system and language policies. This study describes the development, still in progress, of a new language in education policy. The primary focus is on the various issues involved in the making of a policy--the assumptions and principles which provide the foundation for a new policy, the active participants in the policy debate and formulation, the perceptions of the role of English in South African society and schools, English as the medium of instruction, and possible consensus at the time of this study. Data for this research include school visits, interviews, and classroom observations in South Africa, and primary source material including government discussion documents and articles from professional journals and other South African publications.

English is widely regarded as a desirable medium of instruction despite the low rates of academic achievement by black students under the past educational system. There is consensus among government policy planners, language educationists, and non-governmental organizations active in the policy debate to support a multilingual approach to teaching and learning. Another important goal is the redress of the past neglect of African languages through greater utilization of African languages in schools. Proposed educational models use a multilingual approach with a choice of languages and flexibility in model design. English is a resource that should be made available to learners in an improved way that empowers all South Africans to participate in the social, economic and political life of their country. Policy making that involves democratic community structures on the local level will help assure that implementation plans are flexible, creative and appropriate to local situations, needs and aspirations.

Success of the nascent language in education policy will be affected by a number of factors which include the degree of involvement of the local education community in policy implementation plans, the provision of adequate resources, both human and material, to bring about needed changes, improved teacher training, government support for multilingualism in other institutions, and political negotiation on all levels.


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