The role of language in assessment and education: Challenges faced by African learners in the South African schools

The role of language in assessment and education: Challenges faced by African learners in the South African schools

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The role of language in assessment and education: Challenges faced by African learners in the South African schools

Researchers and language experts argue that thorough development of a child’,s language skill is a reliable predictor of future cognitive competence. The paper attempts to illuminate the dilemma faced by the learners both in the rural/township and desegregated schools.The paper brings to the fore the dilemma faced by African children in desegregated schools, who do not only learn in English, which is their second language, but who must also relinquish their cultural heritage in order to fit in the culture of the schools. This is due to the aversion to African languages demonstrated by the reluctance to embrace Black indigenous languages in these schools.The paper also argues that while the children in the township and rural schools face challenges associated with learning in the second language, their counterparts in the former White schools may be obtaining proficiency in English due to the exposure to the language, this is however at the expense of their home languages. These children are at the risk of losing proficiency in their own languages. The tendency is that they are unable to either read or write in their own languages, furthermore, they speak their vernacular languages imperfectly.Lastly, the paper concludes by highlighting briefly the steps that have been taken by the Department of Basic Education in mitigating these language challenges and recommendations thereof.Key words:, African languages, Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT), Desegregated schools

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