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Research Center for Language and Cognition (CLCG) Research Theoretical and Empirical Linguistics


Boosting the Use of African Languages in Education. A Qualified Organized Nationwide Development Strategy for South Africa

The BAQONDE project is an Erasmus + capacity building project which aims to provide an effective response to one of the national priorities of South Africa: the development of African Languages in Higher Education. BAQONDE (which means ‘let them understand’ in some Bantu languages) seeks to establish an inter-institutional network of African Language Development Units (ALDUs) in order to optimise training strategies, coordinate the production of materials, and harmonise teaching standards for multilingual teaching in Higher Education.

The BAQONDE project is a collaboration with six other European and South African Higher Education Institutions: University of Salamanca (Spain), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), North West University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Rhodes University, , and University of Western Cape (South Africa).

The objectives of the project

More generally speaking, what is at stake is the further encouragement of educational best practice through intercontinental exchange, as well as the promotion of equality and inclusion of minorities in South Africa. In the South African context, students in the primary, secondary and tertiary education system are home-language speakers of languages other than English. Yet, apart from Afrikaans, indigenous African languages are still not widely used as mediums of instruction, which has a negative impact on students’ performance. Within this context, BAQONDE is a transformative and collaborative project which will result in better understanding of the application of multilingual policies in Higher education.

The role of the university of Groningen: Quality Control and Dissemination

The University of Groningen team for this project is made of Dr Aurélie Joubert (RUG coordinator), Dr Audrey Rousse-Malpat (RUG dissemination officer), Prof Marije Michel from the European Languages and Cultures, Prof Joana Duarte and Dr Maria Mazzoli from Minorities and Multilingualism. As part of the development of teacher training activities, a series of exchanges between the University of Groningen and South African partner universities are implemented and allow our RUG experts to deliver workshops to young researchers in South Africa. In this process, European partners have also been able to learn from our South African partners about good practices for HE multilingual policies.

Dr. Aurélie Joubert

The project is composed of six work packages led by a Consortium which is made of the main coordinators for each partner institution. As well as being a member of the Consortium, dr. Aurélie Joubert leads the Quality Control Work Package along with Prof Dion Nkomo from Rhodes University. This part of the project ensures the development and use of assessment tools in all areas of the project (preparation, development, capacity building, dissemination, exploitation and management) to evaluate appropriate and timely processes and outcomes. The Quality Control Committee meets regularly to examine all quality assurance documents and writes internal quality reports.

Dr. Audrey Rousse-Malpat

The Dissemination Work Package is composed of members from each university and led by the University of the Western Cape’s representative (Bassey Antia) and Trinity College University’s representative (Lorna Carson). Dr. Audrey Rousse-Malpat is the RUG member of the Dissemination team. The purpose of BAQONDE’s dissemination activities is to raise awareness about the project’s objectives and to enhance the dissemination of best practice and materials, thus contributing to the development of multilingual teaching standards. Dr. Rousse-Malpat’s contribution is mainly related to the maintenance of social media channels.

Project activities and material:

For an overview of the project work packages, activities, materials and teams, go to the BAQONDE website or contact Aurélie Joubert ( if you would like more information.

Last modified:28 November 2022 12.10 p.m.