Jansen wrong about English as language of instruction

2013-10-02
Dr Pieter Mulder

As an educationalist, prof. Jonathan Jansen is wrong when he argues that all schooling in South Africa should take place in English. He is confusing healthy education principles with his own hidden nation building recipe.

English is a subject which should be compulsory for all South African children even up to university level. It is however something totally different to make English a compulsory language of instruction.

Educational research from all over the world confirms that teaching in a child’s mother tongue is the best for transferring knowledge. Children who acquired a second or even third language such as English, by way of their mother tongue, are better in English than children who have always been taught in a second language.

He is however correct when he argues that teaching in some African languages currently is poor. The answer is to improve this teaching. Prof. Jansen’s solution is to place further obstacles in these children’s way by forcing them to learn difficult subjects, such as Mathematics, through their second or third language.

 

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