Lobby groups satisfied with ruling over UFS language policy

The High Court ruled against a decision by UFS to make English the primary medium of instruction.

The University of the Free State's Bloemfontein campus. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lobby groups Afrifrom and Solidarity say they've been vindicated after the High Court in Bloemfontein ruled in their favour to stop a proposed change to the University of the Free State's current language policy.

Earlier this year, the university reached a unanimous decision to make English the primary medium of instruction from next year.

But last month the groups told a full bench of judges that the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at the institution was a violation of the Constitution.

Afriforum has welcomed the ruling by the High Court, saying South Africa's indigenous languages like Afrikaans must be preserved.

Spokesperson Alana Bailey said: "Indigenous languages are not simply set aside but that people can have education in all of those languages."

Solidarity's Johan Kruger says all South Africans have a constitutional right to be taught in their mother tongue where possible.

"You are entitled to mother tongue education where practically possible. There is no reason why it can't simply go on."

The lobby group's say they're happy that students at the University of the Free State who have been studying in Afrikaans will now be able to continue doing so.

The university had argued that language had become a surrogate for colour segregation in classes.