Article

IsiZulu as an indigenous African language, and technology in the basic education sector in KwaZulu-Natal

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 39, issue 2, 2019 , pages: 204–210
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2019.1618026
Author(s): Phephani GumbiIsiZulu Education, South Africa

Abstract

This article seeks to discuss issues associated with the inconspicuousness of isiZulu as an indigenous African language in the South African education system as established during empirical research conducted by the author for his PhD thesis. The research revealed that the integration of isiZulu into information and communication technology (ICT) in the basic education sector in KwaZulu-Natal is very slow, and yet it could positively fast-track the elevation and promotion of this language as medium of instruction. Despite numerous attempts by the democratic government to elevate the status of the African languages, they are still not seriously considered in the education sector. Institutions of learning have developed multilingual language policies, yet their implementation remains a major problem and a pipe dream for a majority of South Africans. Based on a critical review of the literature on African languages and ICT, the article highlights various opportunities, benefits and challenges that are associated with the integration of indigenous African languages into ICT in the education sector. The article concludes with a discussion of some linguistic challenges that are responsible for the continued low profile of indigenous languages in education and for the high failure rate in South African schools.

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