GET Learning Space


Which languages are legible to be offered at school either as subject or language of learning and teaching? 

Do we have a policy that regulate language usage in schools? 

What is the language of learning and teaching?

What is mother tongue education?

Which languages qualify as language of learning and teaching (instruction)?

What is the difference amongst home, first additional and second additional language levels?

Which languages qualify for which language level?

Who determines school language policy?

Why do government compel learners to be multilingual? 


Have a look at this

 1.         LEGISLATIVE MANDATE AND AIMS OF THE LIEP The 1997 Language in Education Policy flows from the following legislative framework:n       SA Constitution, 1996n       National Education Policy Act, Section 3(4)(m), 1996 - Language in Education Policyn       South African School Act, Section 6(1), 1996 - The Norms and Standards regarding language policy 

The LiEP aims to:

 n       Promote multilingualism,n       Promote and develop all the official languages,n       Ensure respect for all languages used in SA n       Support the teaching and learning of all other languages required by learners, inc. SA Sign language,n       Counter disadvantages resulting from different kinds of mismatches between home languages and LoLT(s), n       Develop programmes for the redress of previously disadvantaged languages, as well asn       Ensure equitable access to the education system and to quality learning and success for all learners within the system.n       Provides and supports norms and standards regarding language policy
 The Language in Education Policy (LiEP) is part of the government’s broader strategy facilitating the broader National Languages Plan and responding to the language policy framework of building a non-racial nation. “It is meant to facilitate communication across the barriers of colour, language and region, while at the same time creating an environment in which respect for languages other than one’s own would be encouraged.” The Policy does not uphold or promote a particular language at the expense of other languages, as this will contradict the provisions of the Constitution: ¨       The Language in Education Policy (LiEP) makes provision for the choice of language of teaching and learning in both single and parallel medium schools. This is in line with Section 29(2) of the SA Constitution that makes provision for everyone “to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable”.  ¨       To ensure that learners have access to, and implementation of, this right, the state through its policy and school-based language programmes, must consider provisioning against this right.   ¨       The LiEP makes available to a learner the choice of language of learning and teaching. Learners in public schools have a right to choose ANY of the eleven official languages as: o        a language of learning and teaching, ando        a subject from Grade 3 onwards. ¨       Within the policy intention of promoting all indigenous languages, the Department encourages all learners to have studied a South African indigenous language for three years by the end of Grade 9. To this end, the National Curriculum Statement has been developed to promote the teaching of all languages as a subject. ¨       To make the choice of language in a school a “practicable” one, the LiEP makes provision for the consideration of learner numbers when making the choice of the medium of instruction. In the case of Ermelo High School, 113 learners indicated their choice to be taught in English, but were denied the choice of being taught through the medium of English. ¨       Currently, the implementation of the LiEP is being strengthened by encouraging schools to review their language policies, taking into consideration all issues that impact on learners being able to access their mother tongue as a language of learning and teaching. This will determine whether schools are single or dual medium schools.   2.         LANGUAGE(S) OF LEARNING AND TEACHING (LOLT) The Language in Education Policy:¨       promotes home language education, especially in Grades 1-3 (Foundation Phase) and makes it possible to extend the use of home language education into the Intermediate Phase. ¨       advocates for home language education, through which learners are encouraged to learn through their home language as long as it is feasible. The policy does not restrict the use of home language instruction up to Grade 3, but emphasizes the use of the home language in Grades 1-3. It recognizes the importance for learners to learn in their home language. LoLT can be selected from any official language.¨       promotes the development and strengthening of a First Additional Language whilst the Home Language is being used. ¨       accommodates a mono-lingual environment in that an additional language will be infused from Grade 3 onwards which might/or might not become the LoLT of the school.¨       advocates for an additive bi/multilingualism approach in that learners are encouraged to learn through their home language as long as it is feasible, as well as to learn other languages. Additive bi/multilingualism allows maintenance of learners’ home language as they acquire additional languages as subjects or as languages of instruction.  ¨       This model leads to dual medium instruction and speaks to the immersion approach mentioned in the LiEP.¨       The Policy subscribes to a view that learners benefit cognitively and emotionally from the type of structured bilingual education found in dual-medium programmes. o        Schools are allowed to use two or more languages to compliment each other as LoLT and those can be any official languages and/or approved languages. o        Dual medium instruction is preferred in multilingual settings (more especially in urban areas – where there is a mix of different races), and where the LoLT is either English or Afrikaans or both (parallel medium). In such settings, there is no dominant racial or linguistic group. This poses a great challenge to school governing bodies when they determine the school language policy. o        The strongest consideration for supporting additive bilingualism is that there has been a drastic change in the demographics of our urban areas [“formerly white suburbs”]. This makes it difficult for monolingual schools to continue existing at the expense and exclusion on learners not speaking that language. The migration of black learners from rural areas and black townships to former Model C schools is perceived as a bigger threat by some white Afrikaners who want to preserve their language (Afrikaans) as the LoLT in schools. 3          LANGUAGES AS SUBJECTS 3.1      Compulsory learning of two languages¨       Learners can learn two languages as early as in Grade 1. The 1st Additional language is introduced as a subject in Grade 1 especially if that language is going to be the LoLT in the Intermediate Phase.¨       Learners from Grade 3 – 12 are compelled to learn two languages (One of which should be the LoLT.)¨       Compulsory learning of two languages should be at Home or 1st Additional language level or both at Home language level.¨       Compulsory learning of two languages is limited to official languages only.¨       Non-official languages can be taken under “Selective” subject (FET) (not compulsory) 3.2      Learning of Second Additional Language(s) (optional) ¨       Learners may offer Second Additional language(s) from Grade 4-12 mainly for communicative purposes. ¨       Non-official languages can be taken under “Selective” subject (FET) (not compulsory).¨       Can be selected from official and non-official languages. 


Status of language Level of language
 1 – 2 Must offer: 1 x official language (if there is a shift of LoLT in the intermediate phase, learners will do two languages, one as LoLT and one as subject – from NCS : HL p.5) Home language or LoLT
3 – 12 Must offer: 2 x official languages Combination of Home Language, First Additional and LoLT. One of these languages is the Language from Grade 1 and 2
4 – 12 May offer 3 languages: either 3 of the official languages or 2 official languages and 1 non-official/foreign language This can be any combination between Home Language, First Additional and Second Additional language
 3.3                        Learning of foreign languages Non-official languages can be taken under “Selective” subjects (FET) (not compulsory). The Department supports the learning of foreign languages provided that those countries concerned take the necessary responsibilities of ensuring that the support system and mechanism is in place. The Department coordinated the versioning of the National Curriculum Statement into 13 approved foreign languages. Their respective government (foreign languages) took charge of financial responsibilities. For example, the Portugal Government paid for the versioning of the National Curriculum Statement into Portuguese.3.4      Concessions  3.4.1               Immigrant learners An immigrant learner may offer:¨       Only one language on at least 1st Additional language and obtain at least 30%.¨       His/her home language on condition that that language is:o        Listed as such on NQFo        Equivalent to Home language level as determined by the Department. 3.4.2.  Deaf learners The Deaf may offer one official language at 1st Additional language.  3.5.     Language levels v      Home Language – The Home Language Assessment Standards assume that learners come to school able to understand and speak the language. Any language that a learner understands and speaks when he / she enters school will be his / her home language. In most cases, this would be his or her mother tongue. But it might not be so. What is important here is the language that is adopted at home language level by the school will be used as a language of learning and teaching. And it can be selected from any of the eleven languages. It can further be offered as a language of learning and teaching of the school or as a subject.v      First Additional Language - The First Additional Language Assessment Standards assume that learners do not necessarily have any knowledge of the language when they arrive at school. Critical literacies for this level need to be built such that it too, can be used alternatively as a language of learning and teaching. Strong support needs to be laid to cater for learners who are going to use it as a language of learning and teaching. Again, any of the eleven languages can be offered at this level. It can also be offered as a language of learning and teaching of the school or as a subject. v      Second Additional Language - The second additional language is intended for learners who wish to learn three or more languages. The third language may be an official language or a foreign language endorsed by the Pan South African Language Board. The Assessment Standards ensure that learners are able to use the language to further multilingualism and promote interculturalism (for general communicative purposes). It assumes that less time will be allocated to learning the second additional language than to the home language or first additional language. 
Not more than one language shall be offered from the same language group, viz. Nguni and Sotho languages. The same language shall not be offered as Home and a 1st or 2nd Additional language, or as a 1st and 2nd Additional language.
 4.         TIME ALLOCATION 


Time allocation per week % or Hours allocated for Languages
R-2 22h30 40% Literacy. To be distributed equitably.
3 25h00
4-7 26h30 25% - Languages (Home, 1st or 2nd Add) To be distributed equitably.
8-9 27h30
10-12 27h30 9 hours to be distributed equally between two compulsory languages.
 5          NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR LANGUAGES The Norms and Standards make provision for the following: 5.1      Who determines school language policy?SGBs are vested with the mandate to determine school language policy. This choice will be made in consultation with the parent body of the school and, as far as is “practicable”, will offer the languages presented by the parents.  “Wherever practicable” takes into consideration issues like: ·         the demographics of the school, ·         the profile of the learners and their language needs, ·         the choice of languages made by the School Governing Body as the language policy of the school, ·         the number of learners who choose to be taught in a particular language, and ·         the resources that the school has to offer the languages that have been selected. 5.2      Who determines LoLT of the school and how?The school governing body must decide on the language of learning and teaching used in a school based on the demographics of the school. 5.3      Do children have options regarding the language of learning and teaching in a school?Each learner must, upon registration at a school, indicate the preferred language of learning and teaching from any of the official languages. 5.4      What if the school does not offer their choice? Should there be 40 requests per Grades 1-6 or 35 per Grades 7-12 for instruction in a language not already offered in a school, the provincial department will need to find means of meeting that need. 6.         CHALLENGES ¨       Non-availability of sufficient LTSM in African languages.o        Partnership with PASA¨       Professional development to teach in African languages.o        Incentives (Bursaries)