Mother-tongue education an asset, says FEDSAS

17/02/2017 - Fedsas

Mother-tongue education is an investment in the future of South Africa. Not only does it provide a firm foundation for a child’s first school years, but multilingualism also contributes to the rich diversity of South Africa. With UNESCO’s celebration of International Mother-tongue Day on 21 February, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) is supporting the Pan-South African Language Board’s (PanSALB) mother-tongue campaign.
“FEDSAS has been involved in the development of innovative solutions to make mother-tongue education a reality,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of FEDSAS. Deacon says mother-tongue education should not only be discussed at national policy level.
“Every public school in South Africa belongs to the community in which that school is situated. It is therefore each school community’s responsibility to become involved, for example by making suggestions on how to make mother-tongue education a reality in that school.” Deacon says the implementation of mother-tongue education involves balancing several aspects. However, there are numerous examples of schools that have found unique solutions that are to the benefit of both learners and the school community.
The PanSALB campaign includes amongst others public lectures, awards and other activities to create awareness. The focus is on all South Africa’s official languages and people are encouraged to speak and live their mother-tongue. “FEDSAS supports PanSALB’s view that indigenous languages should be protected while multilingualism should be promoted,” says Deacon. The highlight of the campaign on 21 February will be broadcast live on SABC.

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