Question NW3319 to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

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22 September 2015 - NW3319

Profile picture: Alberts, Mr ADW

Alberts, Mr ADW to ask the Minister of Higher Education and Training

1. Whether, with reference to his reply to question 2649 on 18 August 2015, he has any scientific facts at hand which prove that English as a medium of instruction will offer all persons access to institutions of higher education, given that there are many areas in the country where the persons are not at all proficient or have very poor communication skills in English; (2) whether he will endeavour to protect all the indigenous official languages, including Afrikaans, against the dominant nature of English in order to prevent English from eventually displacing the other languages, which will lead to entirely English-speaking institutions of higher education, as is the case with the University of Johannesburg; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


  1. There is no need for scientific facts to validate the response provided in my reply to question 2649. The response is validated by the fact that all schools in South Africa teach English, either as a first language or second language, whilst other African languages, including Afrikaans, are also taught as a first or second language, depending on the geographical area or school types. This therefore makes English a common or cross cutting language for all matriculants entering University, something that cannot be said for all other African languages. As mentioned previously, this does not detract from the development of all African languages, which is a necessary process. The fact that some students are not proficient in English is a separate matter, however the fact remains that they have been exposed to English in comparison to other African languages.
  2. I would like to indicate that a similar parliamentary question, published in internal question paper no. 25 of 2014, was posed to me. Therefore, the honourable member should refer to my response to question 2319 of November 2014.


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