'Maties current language policy won't promote inclusivity'

The university council has rejected management’s proposal to make English the primary language.

Protesting Maties students now blocking off several roads around the university. Picture: Shamiela Fisher

CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University's Student Council says the current language policy at the institution won't promote inclusivity.

This follows the university council's rejection of management's proposal to make English the primary language.

Many student groups, including the SRC, have over the past few months been calling for a fast-track for transformation at the university applauded management's decision to boost English as the lingua franca at the historically Afrikaans university.

The council has decided to maintain the 2014 language policy which gives English and Afrikaans equal status.

The SRC's James de Villiers said the council's decision was disconcerting.

"We see this sentiment as a confirmation the council continue with status quo instead of dealing with the language issue, which ultimately works to exclude many students.

"We really expect council to show leadership in finding innovative solutions to deal with the language issue. Unfortunately they chose to continue with what's already in place."

On Monday, a delegation from trade union Solidarity promised to present the results of a referendum on the retention of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University to the institution's council.

The council was faced with a critical decision, whether or not to support a proposal by Rector Wim de Villiers to make English the primary language of communication at the university.

But Solidarity's chief executive Dirk Hermann said the wide support for Afrikaans confirmed that unilateral decisions by university councils would not be accepted lying down.

He said the Afrikaans community was standing together for the preservation and development of the language at tertiary level.