Education Department invites comments from public on African Languages Policy

Children at school
The Department of Basic Education has released the Incremental Introduction of African Languages policy for public comment.

The implementation of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) will commence in 2015 in Grade 1 and will be introduced incrementally until 2026 when it will be introduced in Grade12. The implementation will be preceded by a pilot in 2014 in Grade 1. The pilot will inform the feasibility of the extended school day; teacher provisioning models and support; and resources to support teaching and learning.

The DBE values the constructive comments of the public and wishes to encourage all stakeholders and interested parties to make their comments which will serve to inform the implementation of the policy.

South Africa is a multilingual country with a rich diversity of languages reflective of its multicultural population. The South African Constitution provides for 11 official languages as Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.

The South African Constitution calls for the state to take practical and positive measures to promote and develop the previously marginalised languages. The National Development Plan requires all South Africans to learn at least one indigenous language as part of nation building and social cohesion. To make concrete this noble intention, the Department of Basic Education conducted an investigation on how best can this be done. The investigation recommended that the offering of indigenous languages should be made compulsory to all learners in all public schools. The Department did its homework, conscious of the importance of languages and communication in promoting social cohesion and nation building, and announced plans to strengthen the teaching of African languages through the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) in all public schools from Grades 1-12.

The deadline for public comments is 12 February 2014. Submissions can be made via email to or fax to 012 323 0069 or post to Private Bag 895, Pretoria, 0001.


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