How important is mother tongue learning? We look at the pros and cons

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A father and daughter commuting in a bus.
A father and daughter commuting in a bus.
Photo: Getty Images

Should schools offer tuition in African languages? This is a conundrum being weighed up by parents in all parts of South Africa.

“One of the biggest problems private schools have is that when they do provide African languages, only a handful of children attend the classes. So for business reasons it doesn’t really make sense for them to continue to offer African languages. Also, Black children and their parents opt to do Afrikaans as opposed to African languages,” says Bethesda Ndlovu*, a 39-year-old Johannesburg mother to 12-year-old son, Sipho*.

“At our school, they specifically got in a Zulu teacher, yet my son is the only one doing isiZulu in his grade. Yet there are plenty of African kids.”

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