Sat, Jun 5, 2010
Education in English: an easy solution or the root of the problem in South Africa?
Dr Malcolm Venter, PhD English Linguistics
This year I have had the pleasure, as a retired English teacher and high school principal, of lecturing to the PGCE students at Stellenbosch University who are training to become English teachers. I set them an assignment entitled, ‘English in South Africa – a double-edged sword’. I was impressed by many of the assignments – at the insight and the passion and concern they showed at the plight of the thousands of learners who have to conduct their studies through a language which is not their Home Language. Considering that many of the students are Afrikaans-speaking whites, it is encouraging to know that our young people have a broader vision of education in this country than just their own back yards.
I have edited the assignments to a certain degree – clear errors have been removed; but I have tried to leave the flavour of young people, some of them not English-speaking.
Because the assignment was based on class discussions and mostly common sources, there are obvious similarities between the different assignments; but there are sufficient differences to warrant publishing five essays.