An investigation into language policy and training and development in South African industry, with particular reference to departmental practice at Eskom.
This study attempts to examine language policy and language training and development in industry, with specific reference to departmental practice at ESKOM. ESKOM is South Afiica's largest electricity supplier with wide national and international business dealings. The organisation has extensive training and development programmes and is committed to supporting equity and the development of employees' potential through training and development. It is for these reasons that I selected the organisation as the basis for my study. The study is conducted within the parameters of the Constitution 's multilingual language policy, the Skills Development Act of 1998 and the Employment Equity Act of 1998. According to the Constitution, the state must take practical measures 10 elevate the status and advance the use of indigenous languages (Section 6: C). The state may also not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of language and culture (Section 9:3). The study argues that in order to ensure equity, all South African languages must be used. One way of ensuring equitable language usage is through training and development. The broad issues that are examined include: '" language policy and practice '" languages used in industry * the dominance of English in industry *upliftment of black languages * the language of training and development programmes at ESKOM * language training and development programmes at ESKOM The study is based on qualitative and quantitative approaches. Semi-structured interviews were used to elicit information from management and middle-management about language policy and practice at ESKOM. Individuals involved with training were interviewed about language in training and development, and to narrow the focus, workers attending literacy training were issued with questionnaires in Zulu or English, according to preference and proficiency. to elicit information about their language usage, English proficiency and literacy training. Data was therefore gathered from all possible areas, including areas of policy, practice and implementation. The results were analysed and a discussion of subjects' responses was presented. In summary, English is the dominant language at ESKOM, despite the Constitution's eleven language policy and the call for equity. In addition, although the majority of the subjects attending literacy classes stated that they did not understand English well, they felt that training should be conducted in English medium. The majority of the subjects also felt that it is imperative for all South Africans to acquire black languages, at least at regional level. Finally, the limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are also outlined.
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