Multilingual education in South African universities: policies pedagogy and practicality

Journal Article


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Journal Title

Linguistics and Education

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Volume Title

Elsevier Ldt.


University of Cape Town

Universities in South Africa have over the last few years adopted multilingual language policies with a view to implementing multilingual education. The adoption of these language policies and the implementation of multilingual education accords with the new democratic constitution which recognizes 11 official languages at national level and the Language Policy for Higher Education (LPHE) adopted by government in 2002 to promote equity of access and success for all students in higher education. The aim of this article is to discuss the implementation of multilingual education in traditionally white English universities, and at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The argument of this article is that although multilingual education is not yet fully realized at UCT, the existing multilingual language policy has created agentive and implementational spaces for multilingual education in that university. The article draws insight from ethnographic theories and the multilingual education projects initiated at the university.

This is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in Linguistics and Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Linguistics and Education, Volume 24, Issue 4, 2013. DOI: