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A survey of African Languages used in the Faculty of Health Sciences

About the survey

We are inviting you to participate in the above research study by completing the survey attached to this information sheet. The survey will assist in developing clear strategies to strengthen the development and use of African languages in knowledge production and dissemination, and scholarly engagement and research. The findings will also inform the development of a clear policy on how second language English speaking students could tap into African home languages for assessment and clinical service/practice learning.

Participant Information Sheet for staff and students in the FHS

Before you decide if to take part, please take time to read the following information which explains the nature of your involvement. Please feel free to ask questions if there is anything that you are unsure of. Thank you for your time.

The study

Historically, and to date, there has never been a focus on African languages as cultural capital tools for learning within professional health sciences degrees. Moreover, in the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, African languages do not operate as legitimate tools for scholarship and scientific research, and as resources for communication on health matters.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) makes a strong case for conditions to be created wherein indigenous African languages are strengthened and developed as languages of meaningful academic discourse, as well as tools for enriching and furthering disciplinary knowledge. An important step in attaining this objective is firstly to get a sense of the demographics of students and staff who use and speak African languages in the Faculty of Health Sciences. This information will be collected by means of a survey.

Why are we asking you to declare your historical racial classification?

We understand the discomfort and pain caused by the assignment of skin colour and acknowledge that separate biological races based on this superficial distinction do not exist.

Non-declaration of race hampers redress and transformation. Critical reconstruction of a system that is fair for all is therefore not possible.

We also acknowledge that historically people who were previously classified as Black, Coloured and Indian have been and continue to be disadvantaged by systems which perpetuate structural racism.

We are attempting to shift the status quo, i.e. the primary use of English for teaching and learning at our institution and are looking to promote the use of African regional languages for teaching and learning.

Declaring your 'race' can help to right the injustices of the past and facilitate linguistic inclusion in our institution.

Intention & Dissemination 

The data will be used to identify the African languages spoken by students and staff in the faculty so as to inform the use of African languages, particularly isiXhosa for teaching and learning

Once analysed, aggregated data will be reported in an open and transparent way in scholarly publications in the form of journal articles / research papers.

Ethical Framework

The study is carried out in full compliance with all the relevant guidance from the Faculty of Health Sciences ethics committee, and UCT’s Department of Student Affairs (DSA).

The survey data is collected in an anonymous way and will be kept strictly confidential.

Online consent will be obtained for all participants.

The data derived from the survey will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Ultimate responsibility for the integrity and safety of the data will rest with the project leader

The data will be stored in a secure, password protected/ encrypted electronic format.

Only members of the CALDC project and colleagues responsible for data analysis will have access to raw data.

Ethical approval has been obtained from UCT HREC:420/2022

Permission to approach staff members and students has been obtained from the Executive Director, Human Resources and the Executive Director, Department of Student Affairs, respectively. 

Why have I been chosen to take part?

We are asking all staff and students who speak an African language to participate.

Do I have to take part?

No, taking part in this study is voluntary. You are not obliged to take part in the research.

What will happen if I take part?

For this part of the research, we would like you to complete a survey which asks about the languages you speak. We will gather demographic information such as your race, age, gender, and place of origin, as well as information on your use of the languages you speak.

How do I take part?

You can complete this questionnaire online. 

How long will the survey take me to complete?

This survey should take you about 20 minutes to complete. If you run out of time you can use the ‘Save and Return’ function.

What if I encounter a question that I would rather not answer or that does not apply to me?

What are the possible problems and disadvantages of taking part?

We do not anticipate any problems arising from participation in this study.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The study seeks to promote the use of African languages, particularly isiXhosa for teaching and learning in the faculty. This would have the benefit of enabling you to engage with learning in isiXhosa alongside English. We will feed back our findings to you and keep you regularly updated about the study.

Who can I contact if I have a concern or complaint about this study and the survey?

You can contact the project leader, Professor Elelwani Ramugondo (details below), if you have any concerns about this survey or a complaint. If you would prefer to contact someone independent from the research team you can contact the FHS Human Research Ethics Council.

Contact details of project leader:

Professor Elelwani Ramugondo

021 650 2104

Division of Occupational Therapy

Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Cape Town

This information sheet has been adapted from the information sheet of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Science’s Transformation Survey (2021) as well as the University of Southampton survey 11/NE/0198 

There are 28 questions in this survey.
This survey is anonymous.

The record of your survey responses does not contain any identifying information about you, unless a specific survey question explicitly asked for it.

If you used an identifying access code to access this survey, please rest assured that this code will not be stored together with your responses. It is managed in a separate database and will only be updated to indicate whether you did (or did not) complete this survey. There is no way of matching identification access codes with survey responses.