Exploring the Promotion of Cultural Diversity through Mother Tongue Education in the Foundation Phase

  • Maimona Salie
  • Mokgadi Moletsane
Keywords: Barriers to learning, Inclusive Education, Historically disadvantaged schools


This study focused on the use of English as a medium of instruction for non-mother tongue English-speaking learners in the Foundation Phase in a historically disadvantaged school in the Western Cape, South Africa. The study is a qualitative case study located within an interpretive research paradigm. It used focus group discussions and interviews to collect data and employed the thematic analysis technique for the analysis of the qualitative findings. The participants consisted of 12 Foundation Phase learners (females = 6; males = 6; ages 79 years) 8 Foundation Phase educators (Foundation Phase female educators ages 29-56 years), and 12 parents or caregivers (ages between 29-57 years. This study found that non-mother tongue English-speaking learners in the Foundation Phase, growing up in historically disadvantaged areas and attending disadvantaged schools, experienced several learning barriers. This study found that in the Foundation Phase classrooms, some learners’ linguistic rights were seriously compromised because they did not receive their instruction in their mother tongue. Other challenges were teachers’ lack of proficiency regarding non-mother tongue learners’ language, psychological-social barriers, and cultural diversity.