Humanities and Social Science Faculties win PanSALB Award

4 Apr 2011 - 14:57

PanSALB Award recipients Dr Ian van Rooyen and Dr Rose Mantoa Smouse from the Humanities School of Languages and Literatures, in collaboration with Professor Derek Hellenberg of the Faculty of Health Sciences (pictured L-R here), represented their respective Faculties as recipients of the prestigious PanSALB Multilingualism Award in the Education category for the use of multilingualism in language policy and implementation in courses and study guides. This was in recognition of their work in implementing isiXhosa and the Afrikaans language within the UCT Health Sciences syllabus.

The integration of these compulsory language courses into the undergraduate MBChB programme (from 2003) forms part of the 'Becoming a Doctor' (BaDr) programme at UCT which has since grown as a result of the positive feedback received from the students themselves.

Commenting on the award, Dr Rose Mantoa Smouse said: "There are many people who have worked on the programme over a number of years. The actual winners are the dedicated lecturers who, despite not being able to take leave, work persistently to make the programme a success, the students who defy the odds by learning highly specialized language in a very short time and the Deans (Faculty of Health and Humanities) who supported the programme. This award belongs to all of us." According to Dr Ian van Rooyen, in addition to equipping students with the ability to better relate to the wider South African patient population, the introduction of these language courses has also stimulated current and ongoing research by faculty and postgraduate students. In addition, the programme supports the language policies of both of the faculties concerned as well as that of the wider university - which aims to prepare students for work in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. Future programme plans include the extension of a similar initiative into other clinical disciplines, once the capacity to do so has been developed.

"It is our firm belief that the extension of language learning into the clinical years in the Faculty of Health Sciences would not only benefit the Faculty and the University, but the entire Higher Education landscape in South Africa and further afield. Because of its potential to develop innovative teaching materials for Higher Education Health Professions Language Learning and the potential to generate significant research, we believe that this initiative can be transformed into a broader partnership involving other faculties across the university" said Dr Ian van Rooyen.

For more information on this UCT language initiative, please contact either Professor Derek Hellenberg or Dr Ian van Rooyen or Dr Rose Mantoa Smouse.

About PanSALB

The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) works to promote multilinguism and respect for all the indigenous languages used in South Africa. In addition, PanSALB works with the Department of Arts and Culture on a national policy for language use in higher education institutions. The awards recognise individuals who promote indigenous language use in their organisations.