Vol 23 No 1 (2014): Nordic Journal of African Studies
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Indigenous African Languages as Agents of Change in the Transformation of Higher Education Institutions in South Africa: Unisa

Pinkie Phaahla
University of South Africa
Nordic Journal of African Studies
Published March 31, 2014


The promotion of multilingual education can be regarded as a force that is driving change in language teaching and learning. The existing literature refers to the positive impact of new discourses and interventions on non-English home-language speakers’ efforts to learn English successfully as a subject in school. However, the effectiveness of English 2nd Language (EL2) teaching interventions remains a bone of contention. In this paper, I shall therefore investigate whether or not issues of mother-tongue and multilingual education have been placed at the centre of educational reform. The paper is based on a situation analysis of multilingual language policies in 18 institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Unisa (a national and international university) is perceived as a major force in achieving this goal in South Africa was found that students’ perceptions of language matters are not reflected in Unisa’s language policy planning. Narratives and document analysis are used as a method to collect data.