NELSON Mandela Bay school principals have come out in support of offering indigenous languages.
The principals were reacting to reports about a white paper being drafted to formulate a bill to be sent out for public comment.
If the bill is passed, it will become the Language Act, which means that former Model C schools will have to accept languages such as Xhosa or any other indigenous language as subjects. If not, parents can take the school governing bodies (SGBs) to court.
Lorraine Primary School principal Rudi van Schalkwyk said Xhosa was taught from grades 3 to 7 as a "conversational" subject of 55 minutes per grade per week over a 10-day cycle.
"I think it can work as a conversational subject, but it will be difficult to incorporate it as a third language. There won't be enough time for this. You would have to make your day longer.
"If it is introduced as a third language it would be a grammatical language and at a school where 70% of children are white it would be difficult," Van Schalkwyk said.
Lawson Brown High School offers Xhosa as a second language option and it is available from grades 8 to 12.
Alexander Road High School principal Dr Peter Manser said the full Xhosa curriculum was introduced at the school two years ago.
"The subject has only enriched our curriculum," he said.
Victoria Park High School principal Mike Vermaak said Xhosa had been taught as a second language option for a number of years.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, Paul Colditz, said the department was busy with an exercise in futility.
He said it was the SGB's prerogative to determine the language policy of schools, but the curriculum was determined by the minister of education, and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Documents made provision for only two languages.
"In the Eastern Cape about 5% of the total number of schools in the province are former Model C schools. My advice to the department is that they must get their own house in order.
"They must appoint educators to schools, fund schools properly, and sort out the learner transport and feeding scheme problems," Colditz said.