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Language at Stellenbosch University

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Revised Language Policy (2016)

First draft and response report tabled at Senate and Council in June  

The first draft of Stellenbosch University's revised Language Policy (2016) and the response report compiled from all the input received during the first public participation process will be tabled at the scheduled Senate and Council meetings in June 2021 for comment. In the meantime the internal consultation process with various interest groups, including the Institutional Forum, the SRC and faculty boards have also been continuing.

Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, who is the owner of the SU Language Policy (2016), expressed appreciation for every respondent's submission, especially for the time and effort that went into the comments. A total number of 330 submissions were received: 116 via www.sun.ac.za/language and 214 via www.sun.ac.za/taal. The draft revised language policy elicited a broad spectrum of comments, including concurrence, suggestions for change and praise, with most respondents opting to propose constructive changes to only a few of the sections of the first draft. Some respondents nonetheless responded to every section, while others limited their feedback to the general comments section only.

“I would like to thank our colleagues and students who are participating in the internal consultation process," Prof Ramjugernath said. “The task team is also looking forward to the input from Senate and Council."

SU invited interested parties to comment on the first draft of the revised Language Policy from 20 March to 12 April 2021. The University earlier this year announced that its Language Policy (2016) is being revised during 2021 as part of the five-year revision cycle prescribed in the policy itself. Section 10 of the Language Policy (2016) 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 in 2017.

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 task team used the current policy as the point of departure for compiling the first draft of the revised policy for the public participation process.

Second draft to be released at end of July 2021

The task team will proceed to compile the second draft of the revised Language Policy (2016) with due consideration of all the input received via the first public participation process and from the consultation with internal groups and statutory bodies. All submissions will be considered but it will not be possible to include all comments in the second draft of the revised Language Policy (2016). The second draft will be released for input during the second public participation process to be launched towards the end of July 2021. The second draft of the revised Language Policy (2016) and the related response report will be tabled at the scheduled meetings of Senate and Council in September 2021.

The revision is informed further by, amongst others, the SU Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework 2019–2024 which has been adopted and implemented after the Language Policy (2016) was approved, as well as the Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions determined in terms of section 27(2) of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act 101 of 1997 as amended).

The SU Statute 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 101 of 1997, as amended). The revision process was initiated in October 2020 by convening a task team, and proposing a timeline based on the University Almanac for 2021. The final draft of the revised Language Policy (2016) will be tabled for comments at the Institutional Forum and Senate during November, and a final draft Language Policy (2021) will be submitted for approval.

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As the Language Policy (2016) by virtue of section 27 (2) of the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 stipulates that Council determines the Language Policy of Stellenbosch University with the concurrence of Senate, the milestones in the timeline focus on Senate, the Institutional Forum and Council, as well as the two public participation processes.

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