Emancipation or Neo-colonialism? English as the Mode of Instruction in Post-apartheid South African Schools

By Heather E. Mills.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The impact of globalization and neo-liberalistic policies has created a hostile atmosphere for indigenous languages in an effort to force cultural assimilation and create passive consumers. English is often touted as the language of international understanding, national unity, economic development, and the language of academia. These ideologies have impacted educational policies worldwide, specifically in matters of language of instruction and the marginalizing of native languages. Framed by Rawls’s theory of social justice, South African post-apartheid educational policies and practices will be discussed with respect to the effects of English as the mode of instruction and the retention of indigenous African languages. The practice of using English as a mode of instruction at the expense of native languages serves to justify the hegemonic and exploitative aspects of neo-liberal economic policies; thereby creating an atmosphere of neo-colonialism. For there to be social justice, there must be parity for speakers of all languages, celebrating and building upon cultural and linguistic diversity.

Keywords: Neo-Colonialism, Neo-Liberalism, South Africa, Education, Language of Instruction, Social Justice

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.159-168. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 743.381KB).

Heather E. Mills

Ph. D. Student, College of Educational Studies, Chapman University, Orange, California, USA

Heather Mills is a Ph. D. in Education student at Chapman University with an emphasis in cultural and curricular studies. She is also the International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Elizabeth Hudson K-8 Public School in Long Beach California where she facilitates both the Primary Years and Middle Years Programmes. She is especially interested in comparative and international education focusing on policy, language and meaning, and social justice.


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