George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Arts and Culture
The Democratic Alliance commends the KwaZulu-Natal education portfolio committee and the department itself for spearheading a move which will finally enable all schools throughout South Africa the choice to offer Eastern language tuition.
For the department, the decision is a remarkable shift from the recent past, when policy surrounding the tuition of these languages was marked by indecision and confusion.
The DA’s battle for the inclusion of Eastern Languages in KwaZulu-Natal school curriculums – and in the national curriculum – has been long and hard.
In 2010 the DA was forced to intervene following an alleged proposal by the KZN DOE to do away with tuition in primary schools. At the time, approximately 450 teachers stood to be affected. Fortunately this matter was resolved.
In March 2011, the DA was again forced to step in after leading Eastern language teachers in Phoenix expressed fear that the MEC’s commitment, not to suspend Eastern language instruction in schools, would not be honoured.
Finally, in December 2012, the KZN DOE announced that learners between Grades 4 and 9 who were studying Eastern Languages could carry on doing so on the basis that their schools ensure that additional hours are assigned over and above the existing 27.5 hours currently specified.
Eastern Language instruction is imperative in maintaining the Indian culture and heritage. Without it, the next generation will not be able to maintain the prayers and various religious rituals that are so much a part of our culture.
With the announcement that all schools across the country now have this choice available to them, the future of Eastern Language tuition in our country appears to be secure. The DA calls on parents and principals to encourage learners to take advantage of this new development.