CE  Vol.6 No.10 , June 2015
South Africa’s Quest for Democratic Education through a Language in Education Policy Perspective
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this paper is to examine how South Africa sought to foster democracy in education through the Language in Education Policy (LiEP) document in the post-apartheid South African education system. The paper begins with a reflective account of the background to democratic education in South Africa in the immediate post 1994 era and proceeds to examine the literature on the nature of democracy, democratic education and how the LiEP was used in the new democratic government’s endeavour to foster a democratic education system in the country by elevating indigenous languages to an hypothetical same level as English and Afrikaans, which had been the dominant language of classroom instruction prior to 1994. In doing so, the paper offers a critical discussion of the LiEP itself in terms of its applicability to the South African education system. It thus explores the view that democratic education is an educational ideal in which democracy is both a goal and a method of instruction. In the paper we argue that it brings democratic values to education and can include self-determination within a community of equals, as well as such values as justice, respect and trust for all races and ethnic groups inhabiting the country (Carr & Hartnett, 1996). In relation to the Language in Education Policy, the paper discusses how its introduction in the education system was designed to foster democracy in the curriculum by offering as its goal, learners an option to access education in the languages of their choice wherever that is reasonably possible (LiEP, 1997). This implied exalting the indigenous languages and knowledge.

Cite this paper
Mutekwe, E. and Sedibe, M. (2015) South Africa’s Quest for Democratic Education through a Language in Education Policy Perspective. Creative Education, 6, 1076-1085. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.610106.
References
[1]   Alexander, N. (1989). Language Policy and National Unity in South Africa/Azania. Cape Town: Buchu Books.

[2]   Alexander, N. (2001). The Politics of Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

[3]   Alexander, N. (2002). Linguistic Rights, Language Planning and Democracy in Post-Apartheid South Africa. In: S. Baker (Ed.), Language Policy: Lessons from Global Models. Monterey, CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies.

[4]   Bourdieu, P. (2002). Anthropologist, Social Theorist. Paris: College de France.

[5]   Carr, W. (2000). Democracy and the Curriculum. The Curriculum Journal, 7, 73-77.

[6]   Carr, W., & Hartnett, A. (1996). Education and the Struggle for Democracy: The Politics of Educational Ideas. Buckingham: Open University Press.

[7]   Curren, R. (2007). Philosophy of Education: An Anthology. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing.

[8]   Dahl, C. (1998). Functioning Schools in a Democratic Society. Journal of Education, 6, 33-42.

[9]   Dennison, G. (1999). The Lives of Children: The Story of the First Street School. New York: Falmer.

[10]   Department of Education (2002). Revised National Curriculum Statement Grades R-9: Overview. Pretoria: Department of Education of South Africa.

[11]   Dewey, J. (1916). My Pedagogic Creed: Education for Democracy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

[12]   Dewey, J. (1940). Social Scientist, Progressive Education Theorist. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

[13]   Du Plessis, H., & Du Plessis, L. (Eds.) (2007). Afrikaans en Taalpolitiek. 15 Opstelle. Pretoria: Haum.

[14]   Frazer, E. (1999). The Problems of Communitarian Politics (pp. 279). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198295642.001.0001

[15]   Gingell, O. (1999). Understanding Policy and Democracy in Education. London: Longman.

[16]   Giroux, H. A. (1989). Schooling for Democracy: Critical Pedagogy in the Modern Age. New York: Routledge.

[17]   Glaeser, E., Ponzetto, G., & Shleifer, A. (2006). Why Does Democracy Need Education? Journal of Economic Growth, 12, 77-99.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10887-007-9015-1

[18]   Guttmann, A. (1987). Democratic Education and the School Curriculum. New York: Princeton University Press.

[19]   Guttmann, A. (1997). Democratic Education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

[20]   Held, D. (1995). Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[21]   Heughs, K. (2000). The Case against Bilingual and Multilingual Education in South Africa. Praesa Occasional Papers No. 6, Cape Town: PRAESA.

[22]   Hountondji, P. (2002). Knowledge Appropriation in a Post-Colonial Context. In C. Odora-Hoppers (Ed.), Indigenous Knowledge and the Integration of Knowledge Systems: Towards a Philosophy of Articulation (pp. 137-142). Claremont, CA: New Africa Books.

[23]   Institute for Democratic Education’s Principles of Democratic Education (2005). Book Title. Pretoria: Government Printers.

[24]   Jansen, J. (2003). Curriculum and the Language Debate in the South African Education Context. South African Journal of Education, 17, 231-243.

[25]   Jeffs, B., & Smith, M. (1999). Policy in Education. London: Verso.

[26]   Kelly, A. V. (1995). Education and Democracy: Principles and Practices. London: Paul Chapman.

[27]   Lakoff, S. (1996). Democracy: History, Theory, Practice. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

[28]   Language in Education Policy Document (LiEP) (1997). Pretoria: Government Printers.

[29]   Locke, J. (1962). Some Thoughts Concerning Education. New York: Falmer.

[30]   Odora-Hoppers, C. (2002). Indigenous Knowledge and the Integration of Knowledge Systems: Towards a Conceptual and Methodological Framework. In C. Odora Hoppers (Ed.), Towards a Philosophy of Articulation (pp.139-143). Claremont, CA: New Africa Books.

[31]   Offe, C., & Preuss, U. (2002). Democratic Institutions and Moral Resources: Political Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[32]   Pinar, W. (2003). Understanding Curriculum Policy. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 5, 37-43.

[33]   Prah, K. (Ed.) (1998). Between Distinction and Extinction: The Harmonisation and Standardisation of African Languages. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand Press.

[34]   Rousseau, J. (1904). Emile oul’éducation, Garnier Frères. Paris: Falmer.

[35]   Ryan, P. (2005). Challenges to Democratic Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 4, 57-61.

[36]   Scholtz, J. (1995). Die Afrikaner en Sy Taal 1806-1875. Cape Town: NasouBpk.

[37]   Sehr, D. T. (1997). Education for Public Policy. New York: SUNY Press.

[38]   Senge, L. (2008). The Language Question in South African Education. Journal of Education, 5, 123-131.

[39]   Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000). Linguistic Genocide in Education—Or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights. Mahwah, NJ and London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

[40]   United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) (2010). The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education. Paris: UNESCO.

[41]   Vail, L. (Ed.) (2001). The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

 
 
Top