Reconsidering the role of language-in-education policies in multilingual higher education contexts

Christa van der Walt


As a result of transnational mobility of students and attempts to widen access to higher education, university campuses have become increasingly multilingual. Responses to this phenomenon have ranged from resistance (sticking to a local and established language) to wide-ranging attempts to become English-medium institutions. The fact that student populations can differ from one semester and one year to the next means that it becomes difficult to plan language-in-education strategies and practices. In the context of South African higher education, this paper argues that lecturers who teach multilingual classes cannot depend on policy makers to create circumstances in which deep learning will take place. It becomes necessary to think in terms of micro-planning (Baldauf 2006), or perhaps rather classroom strategies, to create spaces for multilingual learning.


language policy, multilingual education, higher education

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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