The Zimbabwean first languages seem to be slowly dying a natural death: A Case of university student’s academic writing
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Communication Skills is a course offered to university students especially to first year first semester students. The essence of this course is to prepare students for study in their specific areas, to equip them with study skills and writing skills. Different departments have different requirements. However, the academics largely depend upon sound writing skills. At University of Zimbabwe the department has moved from giving a one off training to those who had not passed General English then now Communication skills to offering it to every student. The Engineering department is said to have asked the communication skills department to offer the course continuously to its student other departments also sort for the same offer. Regardless of such a long standing establishment it has been noted that students still lack competence in the writing of assignments and reports in their various areas of specialisation. The study specifically looks at Bindura University of Science Education Students who are offered communication skills in their first year. The university at large like any other university is complaining about the quality of written work that is being produced by the current university student. The paper tackled the issue of poor writing skills from the language issue perspective emanating from the Zimbabwean language policy. A needs Analysis as the research methodology has been adopted where the linguistically needs of the students were interrogated against the current assignment writing standard displayed. The qualitative paradigm being the dominate research adopted has seen analysis in terms of the narratives dominating. Very little in terms of analysis of data has culminated in quantitative analysis. Keywords: First languages, dying a natural dearth, “O” Level four year secondary school Examination Ordinary level, ‘’A’’ Level Advanced level six year secondary school examination , English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP) multilingualism, bilingualism.