FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 FEBRUARY 2023, PRETORIA
PanSALB TO COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY – 21 FEBRUARY
The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education and the SABC will, on 20-21 February 2023, be commemorating International Mother Language Day at the Ranch Resort, outside Polokwane in Limpopo. This forms part of the institution’s continued efforts to promote the use of mother tongue and the furtherance of multilingualism in the country.
This year’s commemoration takes place under the theme “multilingual education – a necessity to transform Education” as declared by UNESCO.
The two-day commemoration is expected to kickstart with a seminar that will focus on the advancement of the adoption of the Department of Basic Education’s Mother Tongue Based Bilingual Education (MTBBE) system and fast tracking its roll-out in schools throughout the country. The Pan South African Language Board Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lance Schultz said that most of the world’s population accesses education and learning material in languages that aren’t their mother tongue or rather languages that are ‘foreign’ to them. “Learners are faced with challenges of learning complex concepts such as STEM subjects in languages they cannot fully comprehend or adequately express themselves in. This directly limits the learning potential of learners and robs them of the opportunity to access knowledge in their mother tongue and limits the ability to explore/exercise critical thinking in their own language.” He added that the quality and learning experience of learners must be improved by tapping into the transformative power that multilingual education presents.
Also forming part of the day’s activities will be the officialisation of the strategic partnership between PanSALB and the SABC through a memorandum of understanding to advance the shared mandate of promoting the use of all official languages, including Khoi, Nama and San languages and South African Sign Language. “The importance of representation of indigenous languages within broadcasting cannot be overstated. Representation matters. Indigenous Languages matter,” said Schultz. He added that the institution hoped that with the introduction of TV news bulletins in indigenous languages on the SABC+ streaming service, as well as a digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel, would lead to more creative content developed in indigenous languages to elevate their corpus, prestige status of being used in higher registers and, probably the equitable treatment and parity of esteem. This further expands language related careers not just in broadcasting but in the production of TV and radio contents through the previously marginalized languages.
The Language Activism Month campaign is observed during the month of February in commemoration of International Mother Language Day (21 February) and aims to create awareness of multilingualism as an important educational instrument that adds academic value and also promotes appreciation of cultural awareness and the preservation of indigenous languages.
Released on behalf of PanSALB: Ntombentle Huluhulu
Head: Marketing and Communication
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