New subjects to ‘decolonise’ schools in South Africa: minister

 ·21 May 2021

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga says the introduction of Kiswahili in the National Curriculum Statement will go a long way towards contributing to decolonisation.

The minister said this when she tabled the department’s budget vote during a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Thursday.

“The introduction of Kiswahili Second Additional Language (SAL) in the National Curriculum Statement will go a long way towards decolonising education in South Africa in particular.

“It will promote social cohesion and also assist in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area – the world’s largest free-trade zone, which was launched in January 2021, to unify Africa as a single market to develop the African continent,” she said.

Kiswahili, which is also known as Swahili, is an official language of the East African Community, which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Motshekga said Kiswahili – the widely spoken language on the continent, is projected to be the business language of the African continent and will play a significant unifying role.

“We were supposed to pilot Kiswahili Second Additional Language (SAL), in Grades 4-6 in 2021-2023. However, our plans have been thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  As a result, the primary focus for schools is currently on the teaching of Home Languages and First Additional Languages as fundamentals.”

Khoi, Nama and San languages offered as second languages

Motshekga said the department has decided to expand the list of second language offering into the curriculum.

She said the Incremental Introduction to African Languages (IIAL) strategy, was initiated in 2013 to strengthen the teaching of previously marginalised African languages, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Siswati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Sepedi, Sesotho, and Setswana in schools.

She said the IIAL strategy targets 2 584 schools that are not offering African languages. The strategy was piloted in the foundation phase in 2014 and 2015.

“This cohort of learners, who were part of the pilot, is currently in the intermediate phase.

“We strategically decided to expand the list of South African languages offered as Second Additional Languages in the National Curriculum Statement.

“The additional languages are the Khoi, Nama, San languages, as well as the South African Sign Language (SASL) – thus concretising the Constitutional mandate of promoting and creating conditions for the development and the use of all official languages,” she said.

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