A socio-constructivist analysis of the bilingual language policy in South African higher education: perspectives from the university of Kwazulu-natal

SOURCE: Cogent Education
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2021
TITLE AUTHOR(S): Z.M.Mthombeni, O.Ogunnubi
KEYWORDS: BILINGUALISM, HIGHER EDUCATION, LANGUAGE POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 12132
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/16398
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/16398

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Abstract

Any language policy has crucial social implications that impact its successful implementation. The introduction of the bilingual language policy at the University Of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has spurred polemical debate and discussions especially regarding the value of African languages for teaching and learning. This article offers a socio-constructivist analysis of the issues that emerge in the implementation of the UKZN language policy. The study on which it is based employed a mixed methodology drawing on secondary as well as primary data collected by means of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires administered to staff and students at two UKZN campuses. Simple random sampling was applied to enroll 16 students while purposive sampling was used to select nine academic staff for the study. The findings reveal that although the bilingual language policy has inherent social value, uncertainty persists with regard to its short and long-term economic significance. This calls for deeper reflection on the social implications of the language preferences of the institutions staff and students who are directly affected by the policy.