The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has called on provincial education departments to follow the Eastern Cape in allowing learners to write the final exams in their home language.
Grade 12 learners in the Eastern Cape will be able to write the final exams in isiXhosa. Until now, matric learners have only been able to answer exam papers in English and Afrikaans.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga hopes this will increase the pass rate.
“For the reason that the national department has accepted this move is that we are worried that we are going to get stuck when we get to the exams. We are hoping that other provinces will also take the baton and run with it and they can learn from the Eastern Cape how we have done it. Learning in your language is better than learning in a language you don’t understand,” says PanSALB’s Eastern Cape provincial manager Xolisa Tshongolo.
Mother Language Day aimed at linguistic diversity
The 21st of February marked the 68th International Mother Language Day, declared by United Nations through UNESCO in honour of the Bengali language movement in Bangladesh in 1952.
The UN marked the day after protesting students were killed in numbers in Bangladesh for demanding the recognition of their mother tongue.
The International Mother Language Day is aimed at creating awareness and appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity around the world.
In South Africa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa celebrated the day with hundreds of learners in KwaMbonambi, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mthethwa first visited Qalakabusha Correctional Centre where he donated books to inmates and encouraged a culture of reading which is critical in instilling important social values.
He said, “Reading books can improve our behaviour and expand our knowledge.”