Read time: 3 minutes

Development of African languages in higher education

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is proud to announce the establishment of the ‘Boosting the use of African Languages in Higher Education: A Qualified Organised Nationwide Development Strategy for South Africa’ (BAQONDE) project.

The university has undertaken this endeavour in collaboration with universities in South Africa and Europe and is in response to South Africa’s national priorities: the development of African languages in higher education.

The project is being spearheaded through the university’s Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO) under the stewardship of Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca.

Songca said the project is important because it "enables students to reach their potential through access to learning (in) African languages. The majority of learners do not receive education in their home language(s). Research has underlined the extremely negative impact that this can have on students’ performance throughout the education system."

BAQONDE seeks to establish an inter-institutional network of African Language Development Units (ALDUs) to optimise training strategies, co-ordinate the production of materials, and harmonise teaching standards for multilingual teaching in higher education, among other goals.

Songca is confident that BAQONDE, which commences next semester, will enhance the use of isiZulu as part of the implementation of the university’s Language Policy. "Lecturers will be trained to use isiZulu for teaching and learning, followed by the development of teaching and learning material in an African language for the benefit of the country," he said.

Acting Director of the ULPDO, Dr Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst, is part of UKZN’s BAQONDE team, along with Dean and Head of the School of Arts Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa and senior lecturer Dr Gugu Mazibuko.

Makhubu-Badenhorst is pleased at the inroads the project is making to facilitate and promote the use of indigenous African languages as a medium of instruction in tertiary education. "The collaborative network of ALDUs plays a fundamental role in training lecturers in innovative and multilingual methodologies and co-ordinating the development of materials both for teachers and students to be able to teach and learn multilingually. The various participants will foster the implementation of top-down nationwide strategies to guarantee more inclusive and legitimate access to Higher Education in South Africa," she said.

Songca thanked all involved in the genesis and realisation of the project and noted that BAQONDE will solve challenges experienced in the past. "The commendable vision of the national education authorities, at Basic and Higher Education levels, to address this problem by encouraging the development and use of African languages as a medium of education has intermittently been set back by concerns of staffing, training, infrastructure, among others.’

The institutions involved include University of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West University, the University of the Western Cape, Rhodes University and three European universities, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Groningen and the University of Salamanca.

The BAQONDE project team members are Pedro Álvarez Mosquera (University of Salamanca); Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst (University of KwaZulu-Natal); Johan Blaauw (North-West University); Dion Nkomo (Rhodes University); Aurelie Joubert (University of Groningen), Lorna Carson (Trinity College Dublin) and Bassey Antia (University of the Western Cape). At the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Makhubu-Badenhorst works with Hlongwa and Mazibuko.

Visit the website for more information on the project, or visit UKZN’s ULPDO website.

BAQONDE- Funda ngolimi lwakho

I-UKZN ibambisane namanyuvesi aseNingizimu Afrika nase-Europe ukuthuthukisa kokusetshenziswa Kwezilimi Zase-Afrika Kwezemfundo Ephakeme:A Qualified Organised Nationwide Development Strategy for South Africa (BAQONDE) Iphrojekthi eyasungulwa ukuze inikeze imiphumela ephusile kwezinye zezinto ezibalulekile ezweni laseNingizimu Afrika: ukuthuthukiswa kwezilimi zase-Afrika emfundweni ephakeme.

I-UKZN ibambe iqhaza kule phrojekthingeHhovisi LeNyuvesi Lokuhlelwa Nokuthuthukiswa Kolimi (i-ULPDO) ngaphansi kobuholi bePhini Lesekelashansela KwezokuFunda NokuFundisa, uSolwazi Sandile Songca.

USongca uthe lo msebenzi ubalulekile ngoba ‘wenza abafundi bakwazi ukufinyelela emandleni abo ngokufinyelela ekufundeni ngezilimi zase-Afrika. Iningi labafundi alitholi imfundo ngolimi lwabo lwebele. Ucwaningo luveze obala umthelela omubi kakhulu lokhu okungaba nawo ekusebenzeni kwabafundi kulo lonke uhlelo lwezemfundo. ’

I-BAQONDE ifuna ukusungula uhlelokusebenzisana phakathi kwezikhungo zezizinda zokuthuthukiswa kwezilimi zase-Afrika (ALDUs) ukuze kwande amasu okuqeqesha, ukuhlela ukukhiqizwa kwezinsizakusebenza, nokuhlela ngokuvumelanisa amazinga okufundisa ngezilimi eziningi eMfundweni ePhakeme, phakathi kweminye imigomo.

USongca unesiqiniseko sokuthi iBAQONDE, ezoqala ngesimester ezayo, izothuthukisa ukusetshenziswa kwesiZulu njengengxenye yokuqalisa ukusetshenziswa kweNqubomgomo yoLimi eNyuvesi. ‘Abafundisi bazoqeqeshelwa ukusebenzisa isiZulu ekufundeni nasekufundiseni, kulandele ukuthuthukiswa kwezinsiza zokufunda nokufundisa ngolimi lwase-Afrika ukuze kuzuze izwe,’ kusho uSongca.

Umphathi oyibamba we-ULPDO, uDkt Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst, uyingxenye yethimba le-BAQONDE lase-UKZN, kanye neDini eyiNhloko yeSikole Sezobuciko uSolwazi Nobuhle Hlongwa kanye nomfundisi omkhulu uDkt Gugu Mazibuko.

UMakhubu-Badenhorst uyajabula ngokungena kwephrojekthiukwenza lula nokukhuthaza ukusetshenziswa kwezilimi zomdabu zase-Afrika njengolimi lokufundisa emfundweni ephakeme. ‘uhlelokusebenzisana lokubambisana lwama-ALDU luneqhazaelibaluleke kakhulu ekuqeqesheni abafundisi ngezindlela ezintsha nezilimi eziningi nokuxhumanisa ukwakhiwa kwezinsiza ezizokwenza ukuba othisha nabafundi bakwazi ukufunda nokufundisa izilimi eziningi. Ababambiqhaza abahlukahlukene bazokhuthaza ukuqaliswa kwamasu ngendlelakwenza yasezweni lonke esukela emazingeni aphezulu kuya kwaphansi okuqinisekisa ukufinyeleleka kweMfundo ePhakeme okubandakanyayo futhi okusemthethweni eNingizimu Afrika, ’kusho yena.

USongca ubonge bonke ababambe iqhaza ekuqalenikusungula nasekugcwalisekeni kwephrojekthi futhi waphawula nokuthi iBAQONDE izoxazulula izinselelo ezabe zikhona esikhathini esedlule. Umbono oncomekayo weziphathimandla zezemfundo kuzwelonke, emazingeni eMfundo eyisisekelo kanye naphakeme, ukubhekana nale nkinga ngokukhuthaza ukuthuthukiswa nokusetshenziswa kwezilimi zase-Afrika njengolimi lwemfundo sekuhlehlisiwe ngezikhathi ezithile yizinkinga zabasebenzi, ukuqeqeshwa, ingqalasizinda, okungokunye kokumbalwa. '

Izikhungo ezithintekayo kubalwa i-UKZN, i-North-West University, i-University of the Western Cape, i-Rhodes University kanye namanyuvesi amathathu ase-Europe, i-Trinity College Dublin, i-University of Groningen kanye ne-University of Salamanca.

Amalungu eqembu lephrojekthi i-BAQONDE nguPedro Álvarez Mosquera (University of Salamanca); Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst (Universityof KwaZulu-Natal); Johan Blaauw (North-West University); Dion Nkomo (Rhodes University); Aurelie Joubert (University of Groningen), Lorna Carson (Trinity College Dublin) kanye noBassey Antia (University of the Western Cape). ENyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali, uMakhubu-Badenhorst usebenzisana noHlongwakanye noMazibuko.

For further information please contact: Indu Moodley, Media Liaison Officer on (031) 260 7213 / (083) 555 9508 or at [email protected]

Editorial contacts
Nkosinathi Bhekani Dlamini [email protected]