The role of language and literacy in preparing South African learners for educational success: lessons learnt from a classroom study in Limpopo province

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2013
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.H.Prinsloo, K.Heugh
KEYWORDS: EDUCATION, LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT, LEARNER ASSESSMENT, LEARNER PERFORMANCE, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, LITERACY, MOTHER-TONGUE EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 7681

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Abstract

According to the National Education Policy Act (No. 27 of 1996) and the South African Schools Act (No. 84 of 1996), the underlying principle of current Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) is 'to maintain home language(s) while providing access to and the effective acquisition of additional language(s)'. In practice, though, learners' home language development is being abandoned too early. At the same time, premature reliance on a new additional language sacrifices its effectiveness as a medium of learning and teaching. The overall result for learners whose home and instructional languages have been compromised simultaneously is poor educational achievement throughout school. Ample evidence from empirical studies and literature show the extent of this policy failure in the South African schooling system. However, remedies are available. These include: policy awareness, implementation and derived strategies; teacher training; learning material provision; support to teachers and learners; and improved teaching practices.