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The language-in-education policy and attitudes of learners, educators and parents towards English or/and isiZulu as the language of learning and teaching : the case of selected secondary schools in Durban Metro in KwaZulu-Natal province.

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South Africa has undergone many political changes since the apartheid era. A recent one has included the adoption of a new language-in-education policy recommending, among other things, the use of African indigenous languages as languages of learning and teaching (LOLT). The country has moved into a system in which learners and schools are entitled to choose their preferred LOLT. However, there have been few concrete changes to accommodate this choice. In particular, the above language-in-education policy has not yet been adequately implemented in schools. This study investigates learners', educators' and parents' attitudes towards the use of English or /and isiZulu as the medium of learning and teaching in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province. I ascertain if there are similarities and differences, if any, in the responses of the three groups of stakeholders from two secondary schools. I also demonstrate the implications of the attitudes of these stakeholders for the implementation of the current language-in-education policy. Lastly, I make recommendations that will assist language policy makers regarding the current language-in-education policy. The study shows that there are mixed feelings regarding the LOLT issue. It was found that the respondents largely favour the use of English as the medium of instruction, yet some of the responses are self-contradictory, in that they simultaneously want isiZulu to be used as early as grade 1 as LOLT. Most respondents still envisage a future where English will continue to have political, educational, social and economic power over isiZulu. There is thus an urgent need for the Department of Education to review the current language-in-education policy and address issues that might be hindering its implementation. The policy is likely to fail unless some intervention strategies are taken to address these problems. It is hoped that this study will help to highlight issues that can be further investigated in this area.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2004.


Language and education--South Africa., Native language and education--KwaZulu-Natal., English language--Political aspects--South Africa., Theses--Linguistics.