Towards mother tongue instruction in adult education in South Africa
Adult Education and Training (AET) in South Africa has been designed to be a source of foundational knowledge and skills to learners in order to improve their social, political and economic conditions. As a result, AET, whose majority beneficiaries speak previously marginalised indigenous languages, has adopted English as a language of teaching and learning. The aim of this article is two-fold: to examine the effectiveness of English as a language of teaching and learning, and the role of mother tongue instruction as an alternative medium in AET. Qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews from a sample of 15 female AET practitioners in three adjoining circuit offices of Vhembe District, South Africa. The study finds that the government’s Englishonly policy is unsustainable because both teachers and learners are hardly proficient in it. The study concludes that mother tongue instruction in adult education is the way to go in South Africa.