Die debat oor die posisie van Afrikaans aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch : 'n ontleding

Scholtz, Ingrid ; Scholtz, Leopold (2008-09)

CITATION: Scholtz, L. & Scholtz, I. 2008. Die debat oor die posisie van Afrikaans aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch: ’n Ontleding. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 48(3):292-313.

The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_issuetoc&pid=0041-475120080003&lng=en&nrm=iso

Article

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die debat oor die plek van Afrikaans en Engels as onderrigmedium aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch het sedert sy begin in 2002 nie baie duidelikheid verskaf nie. In dié artikel word ’n poging aangewend om die debat te analiseer en vas te stel waar en waarom die opponente verskil. Om dinge kort te hou is drie verteenwoordigers van albei kante – die sogenaamde A-opsioniste en die T-opsioniste – vergelyk. Die eerste groep meen dat dubbelmedium noodwendig lei tot die verdwyning van die swakker taal, in dié geval Afrikaans; dat die Universiteit in werklikheid nie eens die minimum voorwaardes vir die T-opsie nakom nie; dat die dubbelmediumprojek ideologies gedrewe is; en dat dit die belange van die arm gekleurde Afrikaanssprekende studente verwaarloos. Die T-opsioniste is van mening dat ’n universiteit se taak nie is om ’n taal te beskerm nie, maar om akademiese uitnemendheid te bevorder; dat eentalige Afrikaanse onderrig die Universiteit op die glybaan na parogialisme en isolasie plaas; dat ’n multikulturele benadering beter is as kulturele apartheid; en dat die beweging na Engels noodsaaklik is vir transformasie. Die argumente word dan geweeg, en die slotsom is dat waar die A-opsioniste hul argumente hoofsaaklik op akademiese en pedagogiese gronde baseer, die T-opsioniste se benadering veral ideologies is. Daar word ook bevind dat die Topsie op Stellenbosch sodanig toegepas word dat die eindproduk waarskynlik eerder ’n eentalige Engelse Stellenbosch is.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The debate about the place of Afrikaans and English as mediums of instruction at the University of Stellenbosch has been generating more heat than light since its beginning in 2002. In this paper, an attempt is made to analyse the debate and to establish where and why the protagonists differ. For reasons of brevity, three representatives of both sides – those who fight for Afrikaans as the sole pre-graduate medium of instruction and those who are in favour of bilingual instruction in Afrikaans and English respectively – are compared. They are, on the one hand, Professors Hermann Giliomee and Pieter Kapp (both retired historians) and Mr Christo van der Rheede (CEO of the Foundation for Empowerment through Afrikaans), and on the other Professors Chris Brink and Fanie Cloete (Rector at the time of the debate and political scientist respectively), as well as Dr Edwin Hertzog (Chairman of the University Council). The first group maintains on the strength of research in South Africa and elsewhere in the world that double medium necessarily leads to the demise of the weaker language, in this case Afrikaans; that the University in fact does not even practise the minimum conditions for bilingualism in the class room; that the bilingual project is ideologically driven; and that it neglects the interests of the poor (Coloured) Afrikaans speaking students. The second group is of the opinion that a university’s task is not to protect a language, but to foster academic excellence; that unilingual Afrikaans instruction places the university on a slippery slope towards parochialism and isolation; that a multicultural approach is better than cultural apartheid; and that the move towards English is necessary for racial transformation, given South Africa’s apartheid past. The arguments are then weighed, and it is found that while the “unilingualists” base their arguments in the main on academic and pedagogic grounds, the “multiculturalists’” approach is largely ideological. The two sides therefore reason on different levels, which also explains why almost no middle ground could be reached during the debate. It is also established that the bilingual approach at Stellenbosch is practised in such a way that the end product is, more likely than not, a unilingual English situation. It appears that the “unilingualists” are academically on more solid ground than the “multiculturalists”.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97478
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