Colloquium on Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy
The School of Education recently hosted a Colloquium in Durban on Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy.
The Colloquium examined literacy development, language in curricula and African languages pedagogy with discussions and debates on the space of African languages in curricula and the strategies used to teach them both as home languages and second languages.
It also focused on the teaching and learning of English among speakers of African languages within and outside South Africa, and its space in curricula.
Dean and Head of the School, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, spoke on the University’s bilingual policy, and the role of UKZN in championing African Scholarship.
Commenting on students’ participation, Kamwendo said the Colloquium was important for students because they represented the next generation of scholars and that by being a part of this, they would gain confidence in academic endeavours.
Renowned scholar Dr Stephen Olajide, based in the Department of Arts Education at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, was the keynote speaker for the Colloquium with his presentation focusing on: “Revitalising Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy for Sustainable Development”.
Olajide believes the problem faced by much of multilingual Africa today is the relegation of the mother tongue in national arrangements by which indigenous languages are hardly tolerated in education.
‘Most African learners have used the languages to acquire their worldviews that education should draw from for success. Colonialism, neo-colonialism and the hydra head globalisation would seem to have conspired to stifle the indigenous language.
‘Even though scholars and other stakeholders, through political debates and academic conferences, have been working for a redress of the worrisome situation, little success appears to have been recorded,’ he said.
Olajide re-examined the status and role of the indigenous language in African education and suggested strategies for making the mother tongue more prominent, for faster and sustainable development of the continent. He even considered the strategies of a literacy-centred model that implicates several disciplines.
‘Africa needs to redesign her education to suit the competency requirements of the 21st Century. Such requirements are best met by hinging language education, curricula and the pedagogies on functional literacy and adequate teacher preparation,’ he said.
Olajide emphasised that literacy became a genuine tool for national development and cross-border integration if it obtained fully developed indigenous languages and accommodated foreign languages in good measures.
‘The wash back effect of the situation envisaged would be greater if African languages curricula are harmonised and African children are encouraged to learn in their mother tongues well before they graduate to the higher levels of education.’
Professor Thabisile Buthelezi of the Language and Arts Cluster in the School of Education said: ‘The overall Colloquium led to the building of research excellence by creating interaction opportunities among researchers, creating learning opportunities for postgraduate students, promoting research in language education, and establishing and strengthening collaboration and networking among researchers of language education.’