Eastern Cape matriculants will be testing a pilot project during their trial exams. For the first time in SA, learners will be able to write their Grade 12 exams in their mother tongue.
The class of 2020 will be able to choose to write in English, Afrikaans, IsiXhosa, or Sesotho.
Despite research showing that children learn better using their mother tongue, attempts to introduce it on a wider scale across South Africa have previously been limited.
During 2012, the Eastern Cape Department of Education introduced a mother tongue-based bilingual curriculum, in which Grade 4 learners from schools in Cofimvaba studied mathematics and science in IsiXhosa.
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The Grade 4 class from 2015 across the Eastern Cape were also introduced to mother-tongue learning, and it is those learners who are now writing their matric exams for 2020.
Eastern Cape Department of Education communications manager, Loyiso Phulumane, noted that the main reason that this project took so long to reach this stage was the fact that there were policy sections that had mitigated against the implementation of mother tongue bilingual education.
Certain policies had to be amended to allow for such practice.
“For the first time, the Council of Education Ministers accepted the importance of acknowledging mother tongue bilingual education,” he said.
“The council of education permitted this project to happen by giving the Eastern Cape Department of Education the go-ahead. In so doing, it also allowed students to read and write in their home languages,” he added.
Wishing the class of 2020 all the best for their trial exams.