Pre-service teachers' attitudes toward the teaching of Mandarin in South Africa
The Constitution for the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) embraces language as a basic human right and multilingualism as a national resource. One latest foreign language to be given recognition by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in 2015 is Mandarin, a Chinese language, for incremental implementation as a non-official optional language from 2016 in primary schools. One of the stakeholders at the centre of the implementation of this latest foreign language to be recognised, whose voice has not been heard, are teachers. The methodology adapted in the collection of data is quantitative in that pre-service teachers completed a questionnaire. The results indicate mixed attitudes with more appearing to be not entirely supportive of this move by the DBE. Teachers do not share the same sentiments that are expressed at political level about the significance of Mandarin for trade and globalisation. The findings suggest a need for the DBE to rethink this plan and training proportional to the minimum training requirements for the teaching of a foreign language to be provided to teachers. There would need to be some consultation to ensure a greater teachers’ support as the project continues to be piloted and implemented in more schools across the country.