Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
The Democratic Alliance fully supports the introduction of a third language at primary school level in KwaZulu-Natal.
The ability to be multi-lingual is essential in a diverse country where the understanding of different languages has the potential to unite people. We welcome the Basic Education department’s acknowledgement of this.
The stretching of the timetable – to include these subjects along with English – is easier said than done though, given the young age of learners and reduced concentration levels as they face a longer school day. The DA strongly recommends that the introduction of additional languages focuses on communication skills rather than an orientation towards grammar and the written word.
Experience from schools which are already teaching three languages show that grammar is complex and doesn’t always align with popular vernacular. This often chases learners away from what they perceive as a “difficult” language.
The ability to speak to people in a different language is undoubtedly the most important aspect of this intervention. The DA calls on the province’s education officials to be mindful of this as they begin to phase in this ground-breaking curriculum change.