AfriForum Youth Maties submitted a comprehensive language report, containing 134 complaints about specific modules at the University of Stellenbosch (US) that deviate from the prescribed language specifications, to the university’s Academic Interest Council (AIC) and registrar. AfriForum Youth collected a total of 155 complaints within a few days during a quick survey conducted among 100 students.
‘It is worrying that 87% of the complaints that were recorded during the survey deal with the lack of Afrikaans at the US. This figure suggests that students at the US are experiencing the decline of Afrikaans at grass-roots level,’ said Conrad Basson, Chair of AfriForum Youth Maties.
Of the 155 complaints, 62 concern deviations from the A language specification and 72 deal with deviations from the T language specification. The report identified 56 separate modules at the US that deviate from the language specifications. Hydraulics 354, Theory of Structures 354 and History 144 are just a handful of examples of modules with which students are struggling because of a lack of Afrikaans with respect to lectures and study material. The report links 56 separate modules to difficulties relating to language. Moreover, 19 complains were recorded about English modules. The two remaining complaints were not usable.
The A language specification refers to lectures that are presented parallel to each other in English and Afrikaans and the T option is a double-medium language specification where Afrikaans and English are used on a 50/50 basis in the same lecture hall during a lecture. In the case of the T option, all study material must be available in both languages as well.
‘The aim of the survey was not to provide the US with scientific evidence, but rather to prove that the prescribed language specifications are deviated from and that there are students who are unhappy about this state of affairs. We hope that the US and the AIC’s task of attending to the language issues will be easier now that specific modules have been identified,’ said Basson.
‘Students often feel too vulnerable when they have to follow the university’s channels to lodge language complaints. That is why AfriForum Youth urges students to lodge complaints anonymously by e-mailing its Maties branch at firstname.lastname@example.org,’ added Basson.
AfriForum Youth Maties will act as a link between the AIC, the US and students to ensure language-related complaints are not lost due to fear of victimisation.