A sociolinguistic investigation of the status of Isizulu at former house of delegates high schools in the greater Durban area.
This study examines the status of isiZulu from the perspective of English L1, isiZulu L1 learners and educators at former House of Delegates high schools in the greater Durban area. South Africa's Language in Education Policy appears to be very progressive because it identifies 11 official languages of the Constitution. Although isiZulu has been accorded official status in the Constitution it continues to remain peripheral to English and Afrikaans at many schools. In order to research the topic of this study a combination of quantitative and qualitative research designs were used. A questionnaire, which is a quantitative data collection technique, was used to conduct a language survey. A semi-structured interview, which is a qualitative data collection technique, was used to complement data collected from the closed-ended questions. Grade 10,11 and 12 learners returned 371 copies of the questionnaires. Educators returned 51 copies of questionnaires. An important finding of this study was that the majority of isiZulu L1 learners use isiZulu as their home language while English L1 learners use English as their home language. On the issue of which two languages learners and educators prefer as subjects of study, a majority of isiZulu L1learners and educators opted for English and isiZulu, while majority of English L1 learners opted for English and Afrikaans. Although a majority of isiZulu L1 learners stated that they use isiZulu extensively when .communicating with their parents, older people, siblings and their peers outside the classroom, a significant percentage of these learners stated that they are not allowed to use isiZulu in the classroom. The majority of isiZulu L1 and English L1 learners however, stated that they wanted their educators to use English in the classroom because English is regarded as an international language with enormous economic advantages. Although isiZulu L1 learners have considerable regard for English in their education there is also strong support for their home language because the majority of these learners are in favour of bilingual education, which they regard as being important to their academic progress. Another important finding was that the majority of English L1, isiZulu L1 learners and educators have a positive attitude towards isiZulu which they would like to learn if it is offered, albeit optionally. On the basis of the findings the following recommendations are made • The role of governing bodies needs to be revisited • Review of language policy • Government support • Pre- service and in-service educator training • The provision of books and education material in indigenous African languages. It is fervently hoped that the above recommendations will contribute towards the elevation of the status of isiZulu at former House of Delegates high schools in the greater Durban area.