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Community of Practice for the Teaching and Learning of African languages (COPAL): Consultative meeting
Author: Simthembile Xeketwana
Published: 22/11/2018

​​​​(Picture) Mr Simthembile Xeketwana, Prof Johan Malan, Prof Mokgale Makgopa and Ms Phumla Kese

On the 20/11/2018 the isiXhosa unit in the Department of Curriculum studies hosted Prof Mokgale Makgopa, under the banner of the CoPAL Community of Practice for the Teaching and Learning of African languages, the sub-committee of Universities South Africa (USAF). This community of practice aims among other things “… to provide a structured opportunity for members of faculty to collaborate, network and exchange ideas on issues of common interest or concern, as well as recommending strategies for the sector to enhance access and success in the teaching and learning of African languages in the public universities."

The visit by Prof Makgopa was specifically to the Faculty of Education at SU as he was tasked by the CoPAL to solicit the progress and practice of African Languages in the Faculties of Education in South Africa. Furthermore, the community is in the process of acquiring this information with the intention of “benchmarking, developing, advocating and sharing good practices and relevant information needed to advance the teaching of African Language in schools".

It is for this reason that the isiXhosa unit took part in this initiative, where the academic staff involved in teaching isiXhosa in the Education Faculty and the acting Dean Prof Malan, reported on the progress, successes and challenges of teaching isiXhosa at SU. The issue of collaboration, was also at the centre stage in this meeting, where it was resolved that collaboration is needed today more than ever. Furthermore, there is a need for the CoPAL to formally invite the faculties of education in the country to join this community, since the African languages are not only taught in African languages' departments.

In light of the SU language policy which recognises isiXhosa as a language of teaching and learning, to be part of communities of practice such as CoPAL further confirms that at SU we are part of a bigger family and we need to continue sharing good practice through our research and teaching and learning initiatives.