Question 1

Read the extract below and see the instructions that follow:

“Contrary to the developed world, where language rights are often intended to protect languages spoken by minority groups, in Africa, including South Africa, language rights are aimed at protecting languages spoken by the majority of the people against dominant languages, such as English, French, Portuguese, and sometimes other dominant African languages. In the former case, the debate tends to be framed from the language ecology perspective, whereby the basic argument is that languages, endangered languages in particular, need to be supported through inclusive policies in order for them to live and thrive. In the latter instance, specifically in the case of South Africa, language rights are framed from a legal perspective, as evidenced by the articulation of language rights in the Constitution and other legislative frameworks.

Sections 6, 9, 29, 30, 31, and 35 of the Constitution describe language rights in the public domain. Section 6(1) affords official status to 11 languages, 9 of which are indigenous African languages. In Section 6(2), the state is ordered to ‘take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages’ (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, 4). Section 29 (2) adopts this flexible approach to language use, stating that ‘everyone has a right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable’ (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, 15).

While phrases such as ‘practical’ and ‘reasonably practical’ allow institutions to tailor language policies to their needs, these phrases open the possibility of the continuation of old practices. The Honourable Justice Sachs described institutional language policies as ‘messy, inelegant, and contradictory,’ as most institutions tended at first to resort to English and Afrikaans, and thus undermine the promotion of multilingualism as promulgated in Language in Education Policy (Department of Education 1997) and Language Policy for Higher Education (Department of Education 2002).

Arguably, the practicality consideration that is also articulated in these two policies encourages some school governing bodies and universities’ language structures to adopt an ambivalent attitude, and in extreme cases, a hostile attitude towards African languages, claiming to be protecting the language rights of the institutions on
‘academic’ grounds. In higher education, various organisations, for example, AfriForum in 2015, have litigated universities about changes to their language policies concerning the perceived diminishment of Afrikaans. It should also be acknowledged that there has been, at the national level, an absence of political will to really support
language education towards language access in all education sectors.

To date, PanSALB has failed to develop a visible plan and profile for language development in South Africa (SA Government News Agency 2016). The absence of credible regulatory control, a realisable mandate, and the capacity to deliver on its accountability aims has weakened PanSALB.”

Required :

As the Applied Research for Law Practitioners module is reaching a point of culmination, you are tasked to write a 12-15 page research proposal for an undergraduate mini dissertation.

The theme of the research is Language Rights in Education.


• Please note that the number of pages includes your title, table of contents, and bibliography pages.
• The theme of the research must not be used as a title of the research; you must create your own title and research question based on this theme.
• Your research proposal must include:
o Title page.

o Table of contents.

o Introduction and background information.

o Research question.

o Premise.

o Assumptions.

o Hypothesis.

o Aims and objectives.

o Research methods.

o Discussion of preliminary sources.

o Outline.

o Time schedule.

o Conclusion.

o Bibliography.

Answers to Above Questions on Research Proposal

Answer 1: Considering the theme, the title selected for the purpose of this research proposal is an empirical analysis on the challenges faced in implementing language rights in South African education with specific impact on indigenous African languages.


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