PanSALB welcomes language settlement

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pretoria - The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has welcomed the agreement reached for a KwaZulu-Natal matric pupil to write his exams with six subjects.

PanSALB said it embraces the settlement reached between the Education Department and matric pupil, Kyle Springate, to exempt him from the schools' requirement of having seven subjects, including two languages in order to complete matric.

The settlement comes after Kyle, who had been receiving his schooling in sign language, brought an application before the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have sign language declared an official language.

The agreement between the two parties was reached yesterday.

"In terms of the agreement, Kyle will now be free to complete his matric without the burden of having to choose another language which he had not studied from Grade 10.

"PanSALB has been informed that the Ministry of Education will exempt Kyle by endorsing the certificate to allow the applicant to further his studies at tertiary level with six subjects, which include one language," said Pansalb acting Chief Executive Officer Chris Swepu.

He further said there would be continued engagement between the department and the other parties, which include DeafSA on the status of sign language within the education system.

Mr Swepu said the language board would engage all parties to ensure that a lasting solution is found.

"We will also be engaging other government departments to ensure that there is more sensitivity in addressing the plight of the deaf communities.

"While we appreciate the settlement, as PanSALB we find it regrettable that it took a court case of this nature to sensitise the department about the need to honour the Constitution and cater for the linguistic needs of the deaf community.

"We are still maintaining as PanSALB that this matter can only be addressed by the passing of a National Language Act that would make it a law for public institutions to implement multilingualism," Mr Swepu said