South African Journal of African Languages

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Parents’ direct or indirect involvement in the choice of language of learning and teaching

Matome M. Mabiletja


Although the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa gives children the right to receive education in the language of their choice, the practice of imposing English over their mother tongue remains. The aim of this study was to explore the factors that parents consider when choosing a school for their children, including the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) used at that school and how schools conceptualise the issue as entrenched in the Constitution and the Language in Education Policy. I argue that parents should be provided with many alternatives and be empowered to make logical and equitable decisions rather than being compelled to choose between Afrikaans- and English-medium schools. The research on which this article is based made use of interviews and document analysis to establish how parents made choices regarding the language of learning and teaching in the schools selected for participation. The results indicate that the alternatives that parents were presented with are questionable.
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