Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the department will roll-out the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) to over 3 500 schools across the country as this will go a long way in contributing to social cohesion.
The Minister said this when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote speech at the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.
The announcement comes after the Department of Basic Education had piloted African languages at selected Grade 1 classes in 2014.
“Through the promotion of African languages, we can address some aspects of social cohesion. As a country, we will better communicate and understand each other, if we understand those cultural and language idiosyncrasies that at times isolate us in our own land. The Sector is committed to strengthening all African Languages,” she said.
The Minister’s announcement comes not long after the attacks on foreign nationals, as well as the defacing of several colonial symbols in some parts of the country, with government moving in to restore calm and normality through various initiatives.
While an inter-ministerial task team was established to engage with the affected communities, provincial authorities and law-enforcement agencies in relation to the attacks on foreign nationals, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa moved quickly to engage with the heritage sector to discuss the future of the remaining colonial symbols across South Africa.
Addressing Parliamentarians, Minister Motshekga said the country needed to pick up a few lessons from the shameful attacks on foreign nationals and the defacing of statues in order to set an example to young people to enable them to live in a world that is diverse, different and forward-looking.
She said preparations are underway for the implementation of IIAL in the 3 558 schools across all provinces that don’t currently offer an African language.
“We also have the responsibility as the Sector to ensure that the young people in our schools make a positive difference to their own lives and the lives of all, whom they live, work and learn with,” she said.
When the Minister first tabled the department’s budget vote at the National Assembly, she said young people needed to know the history of the country so that they are not swayed into participating in unlawful activities.
On Tuesday, she said the revival of history in the curriculum, as well as the introduction of a diverse set of social cohesion programmes, will have different emphases.
She said these would depend on whether foundation phase learners or the older children were being taught in terms of their civic and social responsibilities as Africans.
“We now believe that diversity management, anti-xenophobia and anti-bullying programmes in all our departments and hotspots will require commitment and resources from government in the coming years, as we confront barriers to social cohesion and a culture of human rights, non-racism and non-sexism in our schools.
“In the same vein, we need to overcome that history which promoted cultural isolation and linguistic separation that today still causes tensions within our diverse society,” she said.
Minister launches 1000 libraries per year
The Minister said to promote the culture of reading, the department would go on a drive to convert existing spaces in several schools into libraries.
She said getting young people to read and write for school, leisure and in work places is a critical aspect of their development.
“International, regional and national research identifies that support for reading activities, and stimulation for the practice of reading and writing in all aspects of society and in our schools in particular, is crucial for deepening literacy and numeracy in developing countries.
“We are encouraging all communities, and in particular the youth, to donate time, books, and even space as well as basic furniture and shelving to support reading in schools in their communities,” the Minister said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za