Concourt decides that Afrikaans remains the main language of instruction at Unisa


Pretoria – The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday in favor of AfriForum in the case of maintaining Afrikaans as the main language of instruction at Unisa.

However, he gave the university until 2023 to determine how feasible that was. The case was heard by this court in May and judgment was reserved at the time.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had previously ruled in favor of AfriForum on this issue, ruling last year that Unisa’s language policy had not been adopted “in a manner consistent with the Constitution”. Le Concourt has now confirmed the conclusion of the SCA.

The Supreme Court, however, gave more time for the implementation of the decision and for Unisa to assess whether Afrikaans should be retained.

AfriForum cultural affairs manager Alana Bailey said the ruling, which followed legal proceedings spanning more than five years, was of great importance to all Afrikaans students in the country, as well as to the future of Afrikaans as a high-level language. .

“This marks the start of a new chapter in empowering all those who are not speakers of English in higher education.

“It is fair to say that private educational institutions are free to offer education in the language of their choice, but being used as the language of instruction in a higher education institution is of great importance for the survival and continued development of a language, ”she said.

Bailey added that when a language was phased out at an institution, the decision had huge ramifications and could not be easily accepted. for students of all income groups, Bailey said.

Le Concourt considered that the decision of Unisa in 2016 to adopt the new language policy and to end Afrikaans as a language of learning and teaching was contrary to the Constitution, thus rendering this decision invalid. .

He added, however, that in this case, Unisa, as a state body, must be given the opportunity to do the necessary feasibility studies, then decide what it considers to be as reasonably possible and then to implement the required changes.

The invalidity order was therefore suspended until the start of the 2023 school year.


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