Stellenbosch University’s revision of its Language Policy (2016) has reached the second public participation phase. Interested parties are invited to comment on the second draft, which will be available on SU’s language webpage (www.sun.ac.za/language) from 23 July until 14 August 2021.
The Language Policy Revision Task Team compiled and published the first draft for public input in March/April 2021. Submissions were considered and a second draft of the revised policy is now available for public input.
As was the case with the first public participation opportunity, comments related to the second draft can only be submitted via the digital platform available on the SU language webpage. No comments will be possible after the closing date of 14 August 2021.
As part of the second public participation phase, SU has made the information considered by task team available to the public on the webpage. The Context document for the revision of the Language Policy (2016) provides a broad overview of the process and timeline; the international and national higher education context; the SU context; the implementation cost of various language scenarios and the Rectorate's perspective.
In an invitation to the broad SU community to submit comment on the second draft, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, said that SU’s commitment to multilingualism “ is about giving people a voice, regardless of the language they use.”
“It speaks to our diversity as a country and allows us to connect in ways we otherwise could not. Through exposure to multilingualism and respect for each other’s cultural heritage and language in our daily interactions on our campuses, our students develop graduate attributes that mould them into engaged citizens with the skills and attitudes to co‐create cohesive and tolerant communities in a diverse society,” he said.
SU is revising its Language Policy (2016) this year as part of the cycle prescribed in the policy itself. Paragraph 10 stipulates that the policy “lapses five years after the date of its implementation” and that it “must be reviewed during its fifth year of operation”. The current policy was implemented at the beginning of 2017.
The SU Statute (2019) stipulates that the SU Council must determine the language policy of the institution with the concurrence of Senate and in accordance with section 27(2) of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No 101 of 1997, as amended). The revision process was initiated October 2020. The objective is to table a final draft Language Policy (2021) for approval by Council on 2 December 2021.
Since the Constitutional Court in 2019 found the Language Policy (2016) to be constitutionally justified and the University’s process in adopting the policy “thorough, exhaustive, inclusive and properly deliberative”, the current policy has been used as the point of departure.
The revision will be informed further by SU’s Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework 2019–2024, as well as the Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions (2020).