News clipping - Sunday Tribune - 6 February 2011

UKZN to get lectures in Zulu

Big changes are coming to the University if KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) this year, with the introduction of bilingual learning for students studying education, and the merging of 52 academic departments into 20.

Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director Corporate Relations, said that after a lengthy consultation process, the university's senate and council approved a college model as the organizational structure to be adopted for UKZN. "This structure, a first in South Africa, has been translated into a legal framework with the gazetting of the founding Statute of UKZN in 2006. An external review approved changes within the organizational structure, to enhance efficiency at the university."

Mbadi said there would be no staff retrenchments as a result of the merging to departments, despite the fact that there would be only 20 heads of department, as opposed to the previous 52. "The university has been committed, since the beginning of the merger of the two universities, to realizing the vision to become the Premier University of African Scholarship," she said.

Mbadi said Zulu was being offered as a pilot project for some modules in the foundation phase programme of the Bachelor of Education (Grades 1-3). It would the medium of instruction for students who chose that option. "Our language policy promotes bilingualism at the university, and implementing it creates opportunities for students who would benefit from having African-language instruction," Mbadi said. "As part of the pilot, we are conducting research to assess the impact and will formulate recommendations with regard to making bilingualism more available university-wide. The roll-out will depend on the capacity of staffing and resources, as well as appropriateness in terms of coursed to be offered," she said.

Mbadi said the initiative would create opportunities for African language speakers.

By Charmel Bowman