An assessment of the impact of current language policy pertaining to adult basic education and training at Phindangene adult education centre (Lamontville).
Nkabinde, Cyril Thamsanqa.
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Public policy can take a wide range of forms, from broad statements of goals to more specific statements of intention (De Clercq 1997 cited in Kallaway et al 1997). Policy can be expressed in speeches, official statements, court decisions, laws and regulations, all of which embody the authority to define goals and priorities. Policy also provides a framework for taking action and lends legitimacy to implementation and evaluation purposes (Ray and Poonwansie 1987 cited in Ovando, 1999). The outcomes of a policy depend critically on the resources allocated to its support and the institutional arrangements mobilized in its implementation. Despite the introduction and implementation of the new Language in Education Policy (1997), policies and legislation enacted by the new government in South Africa to redress the imbalances of the past, especially in terms of promoting the marginalized African languages, and recognising language diversity and choice, the status and use of African languages in schools has not improved. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the current language policy on an adult centre that is Phindangene Adult Centre. This study sought to investigate learners and teachers attitudes towards the Language In Education Policy. It also aimed to demonstrate how language choices were made at Phindangene AEC, and whose interests they served. Different research instruments were used for data collection. A written questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to gather data from the respondents. Observation and official records were also used to supplement this. This study showed that there was a big difference between the language policy of the country and language practice at Phindangene AEC. In the light of the major findings the study recommends the following: • Student's primary language should be incorporated into the instructional program. • A holistic approach to teacher development should be adopted which provides teachers with basic skills and concepts in curriculum development through seminars and workshops. • Much more effort should go into developing and providing learning materials and textbooks that are more appropriate to adult learners. • School governing bodies need to familiarize themselves with the new Language in Education Policy. • It is the responsibility of the Department of Education to make sure that each adult centre gets a copy of the language policy.