The Council of Stellenbosch University (SU) approved the proposed new Language Policy for the institution with an overwhelming majority on Thursday, December 2 2021. This marks the end of a thorough, comprehensive and consultative revision process that started in October 2020.
“The revised Language Policy reaffirms that Stellenbosch University is a national asset in a diverse society,” said Council chair Mr George Steyn. “Without losing sight of the fact that SU also serves continental and global communities, the University recommits itself to multilingualism by using the three official languages of the Western Cape, namely Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. This unlocks the intellectual wealth inherent in our linguistic diversity.”
According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, “Equitable access and student success are highly valued at SU… Our revised Language Policy will advance student success, as it creates a conducive teaching and learning environment.”
“When we refer to multilingualism, it relates to institutional and individual multilingualism, but also includes multilingualism as a means to promote inclusivity and an appreciation of the value of diversity,” Prof Ramjugernath continued.
The 2021 SU Language Policy elaborates as follows on the benefits of this approach:
“Multilingualism equips students to tap into a broader and more diverse knowledge base; to engage with society in a way that speaks to the heart, not just the mind; to be dynamic professionals, able to better demonstrate problem-solving, listening and interpersonal skills; and to be well-rounded individuals who can make informed decisions that take more than just their own thinking into consideration.”
All official internal communication – i.e. communication from the Chancellor, Council, Senate, Rector or another member of top management to the entire University – will be conveyed in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. Afrikaans, English and, where reasonably practicable, isiXhosa are SU’s languages of external communication as well. And in student communities (residences and private student organisations), the use of language should ensure that everyone is included and can participate.
The Council-approved revised SU Language Policy will be implemented from January 2022.