Research Article

Eastern Cape’s Language-in-Education policy implementation initiative for bilingual education: A historical and onion metaphor conceptualisation

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 40, issue 2, 2020 , pages: 139–147
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2020.1804203
Author(s): Buyiswa M Mini, South Africa, Christoffel R Botha, South Africa


This article presents one of the main findings of a doctoral study that investigated the implementation of the mother tongue (L1) based bilingual education (MTBBE) programme that was piloted in South Africa’s Eastern Cape (EC) province. Major stakeholders’ perceptions and views were explored. Data collection involved focus groups, individual interviews, and classroom observations. Aspects of the language policy and planning (LPP) model were applied as the theoretical and conceptual framework. The qualitative thematic analysis method was used for data analysis. The main study led to, among others, an important historical account of LPP events involving the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) and other stakeholders as LPP agencies. Such a historical account may effectively lend itself to the application of the LPP onion metaphoric framework. The significance of the account of the LPP activities was that it provides a history of the beginnings of bilingual education implementation in the Eastern Cape. As part of the conclusion, this article poses the following question and proposes a tentative answer: What model and programme type(s) of bilingual education should the EC adopt and why?

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