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Although the situation did not lead to an immediate revolt, it certainly served to build up tensions prior to the 1976 student uprising.In 1975 the government was phasing out Standard Eight (or Junior Certificate (JC)).In future, if schools teach through a medium not prescribed by the department for a particular subject, examination question papers will only be set in the medium with no option of the other language".
Today, the people of South Africa are celebrating the Youth Day in remembrance of the heroic action by young people and students in South Africa on June 16 1976 against the dehumanizing forces of the then obnoxious and racist apartheid regime.
The introduction of Afrikaans alongside English as a medium of instruction is considered the immediate cause of the Soweto uprising, but there are a various factors behind the 1976 student unrest.
These factors can certainly be traced back to the Bantu Education Act introduced by the Apartheid government in 1953.
The Act introduced a new Department of Bantu Education which was integrated into the Department of Native Affairs under Dr Hendrik F. The provisions of the Bantu Education Act and some policy statements made by the Bantu Education Department were directly responsible for the uprisings.
Nationally, pupil-to-teacher ratios went up from 46:1 in 1955 to 58:1 in 1967.
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Because of the lack of proper classrooms and the crippling government homeland policy, students were forced to return to “their homelands” to attend the newly built schools there.
The government was spending far more on White education than on Black education; R644 was spent annually for each White student, while only R42 was budgeted for a Black school child.
In 1976 there were 257 505 pupils enrolled in Form 1 at high schools which had a capacity for only 38 000 students.
The protest was intended to be peaceful and had been carefully planned by the Soweto Students’ Representative Council’s (SSRC) Action Committee, with support from the wider Black Consciousness Movement.
Teachers in Soweto also supported the march after the Action Committee emphasized good discipline and peaceful action.