Our courses are already being taught in English: UP vice chancellor

25 February 2016 - 18:47 By Karabo Ngoepe

University of Pretoria Vice Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey says misinformation is at the centre of the ongoing protests at the institution where certain students are calling for the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of learning and teaching.

JOINT VENTURES: Vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria Professor Cheryl de la Rey
JOINT VENTURES: Vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria Professor Cheryl de la Rey

"There is a lot of misinformation out there and there are discussions on social media that are contributing to that. The current position is that all our courses are taught in English, with some courses also taught in Afrikaans," she said.

"I'm emphasising on the 'also' because Afrikaans is not a barrier to access at this university. All the courses are taught in English."

Students at the university have been protesting over its language policy. At least 27 people were arrested last week on Friday for public violence and they appeared in court on Monday. Charges against three of them were dropped, leaving only 24 students to stand trial. Their case was postponed until April 7.

The university has been closed due to the ongoing student protests and violence. De la Rey said it was not correct that other languages were being sidelined in favour of English and Afrikaans. She said there were processes looking at how to incorporate African languages as mediums of learning and teaching across the spectrum.

"The issue we need to look at is how do we take forward the Constitutional commitment to multilingualism. If you look at the White Paper on post-school education and training, there is a section that says we need to look at developing African languages other than English and Afrikaans that we are currently using to levels of scholarship and that has been completely eclipsed in the debate. That is really part of what we are discussing as universities," De la Rey said.

She added that the university has a School of African Languages, where they were training teachers at the faculty of education to educate in mother tongues.

Source: News 24