The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) recently established Centre for African Languages Teaching (CALT@UJ) officially opened its doors on 1 August 2018 at Soweto Campus. The Centre is supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
The overall aim of the CALT@UJ is to enable practice-based research and research-based practice in the education and development of teachers who teach African languages in the foundation phase and intermediate phase of schooling and who teach through the medium of African languages in the foundation phase of schooling.
The development of African languages is a national priority and the envisaged work of CALT@UJ will contribute to the development of two African languages as languages of teaching and learning in primary schools, namely Sesotho and isiZulu.
The work is also geared towards developing teacher education for enabling teaching of, and in isiZulu and Sesotho at primary school level. The work is meant to impact the education system through the teachers it will be delivering, the short learning programmes (SLPS) for in-service teachers and the material that will be developed. This material will be made available on the “Knowledge for Action” website https://knowledgeforaction.co.za of the UJ Faculty of Education (UJFE).
In addition, CALT@UJ will research its own work in teaching and development. It will also host masters and doctoral students to conduct much needed research in African languages teaching.
The UJFE is well suited to accommodate this Centre with invaluable experience being gained on similar projects in Mpumalanga during the past four years, funded by USAID and Elma Foundation. Two languages were involved – isiNdebele and Sesotho. This experience will inform the CALT@UJ work. Furthermore, the work of CALT@UJ will be embedded in the Childhood Education programme area located at the Soweto Campus. Childhood Education is one of the flagship programme areas at UJ. The success of this programme area lies in the innovative teacher education model, involving a “teaching school”, research conducted, the engagement with schools in Soweto and the quest to produce “actionable knowledge” for education.