AFRIKAANS will remain one of the languages of instruction at the University of the Free State (UFS).
LEANNE CUMMING and NOBATHEMBU ZANTSI
AFRIKAANS will remain one of the languages of instruction at the University of the Free State (UFS). This comes after the Bloemfontein High Court ruled in favour of AfriForm and Solidarity to stop the university’s council from making English the primary medium of instruction. The university had announced in March that the language policy at all its three campuses would change effective from 2017.
According to a report by News24, Afriforum had told the court that the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction was “a violation of the constitution”. Greta Engelbrech, the advocate who represented AfriForum, argued that the removal of Afrikaans would be a constitutional issue as the court needed to consider law, teaching and theology students, who might want to offer their services in Afrikaans.
However, the university’s advocate, Jeremy Gauntlett SC, argued that Afrikaans had become “a surrogate for colour segregation in class”. Alana Bailey, Afriforum executive, told Wits Vuvuzela that AfriForum was relieved by the judgment.
“This is not only a victory for Afrikaans speakers but also other South African indigenous languages. We are very much in favour of mother tongue education, because we feel that if English is stronger, there will be less opportunities for other languages,” she said.
The University of the Free State could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.