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Teaching Development


  • Leading language and on methodology development at NMMU
  • Providing language and multilingualism development support to NMMU academic staff
  • Advising on methodology to achieve multilingualism
  • Available for consultation on multilingualism
  • Developing and implementing specialist programmes to support academic staff to enhance language and literacies development in teaching and learning
Contact information
Dr Thoko Batyi
Dr Thoko Batyi
Language Development Professional
Centre for Teaching, Learning and Media
North Campus
(Tel) +27 41 504 2663
(Fax) +27 41 504 2583


The language and multilingual development support philosophy is in accord with the acceptance of the linguistic realities of the South African society by incorporating the principles of multilingualism that can only lead to communicative empowerment and the optimisation of our country’s intellectual potential. In the context of the geographical area served by the NMMU, this would mean the appropriate and sensible utilisation of established proficiency in the languages best known to learners, coupled with the enhancement of academic skills in English as the predominant language of tuition and assessment. At the same time, it embraces the imperative to develop and promote the Xhosa language and culture and to ensure as far as possible the retention and strengthening of Afrikaans as an established language of scholarship and science.

In our endeavours the subscribers to this philosophy will be sensitive to the educational, cultural and language background of students, responsive to the changing language needs and circumstances of the staff and students, inclusive, and non-discriminatory.

To be in consonance with the NMMU’s Vision, Mission and Values Statement the recognition of the linguistic and cultural needs of the University’s diverse communities, the eradication of all forms of unfair language discrimination (in accordance with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) and the promotion of equal access to knowledge by providing for the development of language and multilingual skills will be upheld.

Practises linked to language and multilingualism development will be designed to promote diversity, equity and reconciliation; to be constitutional and in consonance with the Language Policy for Higher Education; to be responsive to the needs of the university’s constituency; to be sensitive to the changing language needs and circumstances of the staff and students; and to be academically justifiable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and practicable. In doing this a tolerant, flexible approach to matters concerning language and the recognition of the value of language in communicating clearly and providing unimpeded access to knowledge will be adopted.

In the development of teaching, learning and assessment this philosophy subscribes to the following as set out in the NMMU Language Policy (D/863/05 (Formerly D/636/05) of 23 September 2005 : RESOLUTION REFERENCE: C05.

  • While English is an international language of communication in science and in business, and is the preferred medium of teaching, learning and assessment in most programmes (with the exception of language and literature departments where other languages are studied), it is the primary language of not more than one third of the NMMU’s students.
  • Whereas it is a major objective to ensure optimal access to language-mediated knowledge, two avenues to achieve this objective need to be pursued:
    1. Effective literacy in English, by means of which all students should acquire the ability to communicate through the spoken and written word in a variety of contexts - academic, social, and in their future careers in this language; and
    2. Optimum use of students’ primary language (if not English) to ensure cognitive assimilation into the university sphere of knowledge acquisition.

These two aims should be pursued through an appropriate programme of language development based on additive multilingualism.

  • Where assessment is conducted in English, allowances may be made for English second language (see Glossary) and English foreign language students.
  • If the language needs in a particular programme and practical considerations (such as the language ability of lecturers, external examiners and students, class size and composition and infrastructure) warrant it, a faculty board can be requested to allow Xhosa or Afrikaans to be used as the language of teaching and assessment. However, the choice of language must not have a negative impact on access for other language groups.
  • Where an entire class shares Afrikaans or Xhosa as first language, teaching and assessment may be conducted in that language, subject to the ability of the lecturer.
  • Language departments will be able to determine the language to be used in their respective units.

To ensure internal coherence, the teaching and assessment policies of the NMMU must be in equilibrium with the language policy.