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ANC pushes for compulsory teaching of indigenous languages

The teaching of indigenous languages in public schools will become compulsory from 2014, according to comments made the ANC at its Mangaung elective conference.

Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla re-affirmed the ruling party's stance on Thursday that at least one African language must be included in all state education curricula nationwide.

"We have been assured by our colleagues in the basic education sector that the teaching of indigenous languages in school will be able to become government policy as from 2014," he said.

The decision to formally construct the idea was taken by the social transformation commission at the conference.

Phaahla said the area in which the school is in will dictate which language our learners are taught.

"Once its approved as policy it will have to be implemented, regardless of the area the school finds itself in. Whether be it a white area or Indian area, and indigenous African language must be taught alongside English and Afrikaans," he added.

Phaahla argued that the sooner the idea is made government policy, the sooner a demand for indigenous languages will be fostered at univeristies.

"We are sitting with a situation where African language departments at universities are contracting or closing. If it is legislation we will have to develop teachers," Phaahla said.

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Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.

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