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Competition emphasises value of mother-tongue education
2017-11-02

Description: Public Speaking Competition  Tags: Public Speaking Competition  

At the recent Multilingual Debating Competition were, from the left: Anita Muller,
local facilitator; William Magwa, master of ceremonies; Dr Chrismi-Rinda Loth,
project coordinator in the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment; and
Mabatho Ntsieng, project facilitator in Community Engagement.
Photo: Supplied

The Multilingual Public Speaking Competition has been an annual event in Philippolis since 2013. The competition was established as a result of the Multilingual Information Development Programme (MIDP), a project sponsored by the province of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. 

The competition is jointly hosted by the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment (ULFE) at the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Department of Community Engagement, also from the UFS. 

Debating in your home language
Grade 6 to 9 learners from four schools participated in this year’s competition. Bergmanshoogte Intermediate School, Madikgetla Primary School, Williamsville Primary School, and Springfontein Primary School each entered their three best speakers per grade. 

Olerato Tshiloane, a Grade 7 learner from Madikgetla Primary School, was named best speaker overall. 

Everyone debated on ‘Heritage’
The overall theme of this annual event was ‘Heritage’. Thirty six learners debated in their mother tongue on aspects of this theme, such as its definition, the role it plays in their lives, and the importance thereof. According to Dr Chrismi-Rinda Loth from ULFE, learners have to present their speeches in their mother tongues. “This emphasises the value of the mother tongue/home language within a teaching context,” she says.

This year’s competition saw 20 Afrikaans speeches, 13 in Sesotho, and three in isiXhosa. The multilingual adjudication panel was composed of teachers from the participating schools, and the head adjudicator from the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV). The ATKV is a partial sponsor of the competition and also provides the participation certificates. 

Dr Loth says ULFE and Community Engagement are looking forward to continue their collaboration, thus contributing to the empowerment of the community.

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