Perceptions of academic staff and students on the implementation of the language policy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.
Shandu, Balungile N. G.
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Language policy in South Africa has been one of the burning issues in the country. Language policies have existed from 1996, but there are still impediments to the implementation of these policies to date. There have been a number of perceptions and debates around this topic from the public which further impacts on the implementation of the policy. Various studies have looked at the perceptions of teachers and parents on multilingualism, however, the perceptions of students are often ignored. As pointed out by Ruddick (1991: 30) students’ views are often regarded as “our blind spot”. Smith (1973) further states that tension may exist between the expectations and demands of the target group and the ideal policy component. Policymakers expect target groups to welcome policies, however, that is normally not the case as every so often the reception is a hostile one. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to assess the perceptions of the students and the staff members on the implementation of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s current Language Policy. In this paper, I argue that for a successful policy implementation, the target groups need to be part of the decision-making processes as they need to be receptive to the policy. Thus, focus group discussions were held for students; interviews were conducted for Deans; and survey questionnaires for students and staff members were distributed. This study employed the 5C Protocol Model by Brynard to understand the complexity of the implementation process. Consequently, gathering such information will assist the policymakers of the policy with essential information which will be useful. At the same time there have been numerous debates nationally on the Language Policy; therefore, this study will be useful to the UKZN’s policymakers and will also be of interest to the national policymakers.