Bettering education through language

Bettering education through language

Puleng Maphisa

Ms Mokgadi Mathole from DSAC and Mr Mojalefa Koai from CUT

The African Languages Development Unit hosted the 2nd Consultative Working Committee Meeting. It was a continuation meeting based on the Working Committee Meeting which was held in November 2019. The main aim was to revise and verify terminologies developed after the VUT had embarked on the process of harvesting and translating Business Management Glossaries. The three-day meeting took place on 12-14 February 2020, at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), PS Building.

The Constitution of South Africa recognises 11 official languages and the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) is aiming at promoting, preserving and developing the African Languages which were historically marginalised. That is to provide a smooth platform for access and success through multilingualism in teaching and learning. The unit is currently busy developing glossaries for Business Management 1, 2 and 3 into Sepedi and Sesotho. While collaboration was forged with the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN) which will play a meaningful role in terms of the development of isiZulu, meanwhile the National Arts and Culture will play a paramount role in terms of providing terminologies in other fields and in various African languages.

The glossaries development project will also escalate to other modules since this is the beginning of another way of transforming the curriculum. The Unit Acting Manager, Mr. Jacob Thamaga said that it is important for them to take one step at a time and see how the programme will unfold.

“It is easier to understand some terminologies with your mother tongue. Business Management glossaries and translated material will be accessed on VUTela and by so doing, we will be heeding the call of blended learning,” said Mr. Thamaga, who is excited about the development.

Mr. Thamaga and his team were joined by a number of specialists from various Universities and Government Sectors, Business Management students, mentors, members of the SRC and Business Management Lecturers. Mr. Mojalefa Koai, a Sesotho Language Practitioner from Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), and Ms. Mokgadi Mathole from the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation were among them.

Mr. Koai, a Language and Translation Practice Lecturer, said that VUT’s duty ke ho fana ka mareo (to develop new terms) as an implementation of the mandate by Department of Higher Education, together with support by different studies which have shown that students learn better in their home language.   (to give out terms) was implemented by the Department of Higher Education as their research has shown that every student learns better in their home language and is more likely to succeed.

Ms. Mathole, a National Language Service Terminologist, said “What VUT does, answers the call for our previously marginalised languages to be developed and used in different fields, like technical fields. The programme is very fruitful, for it will make our indigenous languages be on par with English and other developed languages and it will help in improving our vocabulary.”









Language practice practitioners from different sectors  

Many specialists said it is great for VUT to host a language practice programme since they do not have these courses. They are of the view that this would develop the university and they hope that many universities which are yet to develop African languages will follow in the VUT’s footsteps to further the education of African students.

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