Attitudes of isiXhosa-speaking students at the University of Fort Hare towards the use if isiXhosa as a language of learning and teaching (LOLT)

by Dalvit, Lorenzo

Abstract (Summary)
The present work presents and discusses the results of a survey of a sample of isiXhosa-speaking students at the University of Fort Hare (Alice campus) and their attitudes towards the possible introduction of isiXhosa as a medium of instruction at this institution. More specifically, the research focuses on, among other things, the students’ attitudes towards English and isiXhosa and their opinions and beliefs about the introduction of dual-mediumship and its possible consequences. The survey methods used are a questionnaire survey as well as follow-up interviews, supplemented by on-campus observation. The results are first analysed as a whole, and then split into different categories according to a set of background variables (gender, year of study, subject studied etc). This analysis indicates that, while English is recognised as the dominant language in South Africa and, more specifically, in the domain of education, some categories of respondents acknowledge the usefulness of isiXhosa as an additional medium of instruction. This survey clearly shows that it makes little sense to present isiXhosa-speaking students with a rigid choice between the existing English-medium and a dual-medium (English and isiXhosa) policy. If dual-mediumship is ever to be implemented, respondents seem to consider the use of isiXhosa as a medium of instruction more appropriate in the first years of study, for selected subjects and in some domains within the academic context rather than others. This study is part of a growing set of surveys on the attitudes of university students towards the use of African languages in education, and can be fruitfully compared with similar research at other institutions. Moreover, the results of the present research can be used to inform future decisions regarding language policy at the University of Fort Hare.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:english language and linguistics


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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