Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

South Africa’s schools will start teaching Mandarin and continue neglecting local languages

South African public schools will begin offering Mandarin as an optional second language next year, according to an announcement from the country’s education ministry. The seemingly innocuous addition—more than a dozen other languages from German to Urdu are also being added—has become a rallying point for critics of the government’s close ties with China as well as failure to protect local languages.”

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Languages do matter!


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