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close this bookTeacher Education for Transformation: The Case of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (CIE, 2002, 73 p.)
close this folderChapter 7: Conclusion and discussion
View the document(introduction...)
View the document7.1 Students’ life histories
View the document7.2 Language and learning
View the document7.3 Curriculum design
View the document7.4 Teaching Practice
View the document7.5 Recruitment of students
View the document7.6 Follow up research

7.2 Language and learning

A related feature of the above discussion is the fact that the majority of students do not have English as their mother tongue, and that many, particularly those from rural areas, have probably had limited exposure to English as a language of learning. South African has eleven official languages and English is usually used as a common language of instruction. However it is evident from the data in this study that this gives rise to enormous problems, both for lecturers and students. There are students who find the course material inaccessible, and there are lecturers who are frustrated by what they perceive as the students, lack of reading ability.

It seems obvious that this challenge needs to be faced head on, both by the university and by the Faculty. Some ways in which this might be addressed would be through language support programmes, the recruitment of more Xhosa-speaking lecturers and support staff, and the availability of more course materials in languages other than English. However, the limited financial and human resources of the Faculty means that this is a challenge that is unlikely to be addressed in the short term.