18 Sep 2009

Vanuatu school language policy a threat to education NGO's work

4:56 pm on 18 September 2009

A Vanuatu NGO working in schools says it will be difficult for it to continue operating if a new language policy placing more emphasis on French is adopted.

Changes to the language policy are part of an ongoing revision of the national curriculum.

Currently, parents can choose either an English-speaking or French-speaking school for their children but the Ministry of Education wants to cut costs by having tuition in both languages in all schools.

It says the changes proposed place more emphasis on French because of the similarities between Vanuatu's other official languages, Bislama and English.

Live and Learn's Frankton Shadrack says donor funding only covers resources in English.

"And if we were to develop something in French then we have to get extra funding somewhere. And also it comes back to the individuals working in the organisation. Not one in the organisation has the capacity to speak fluently in French and to develop something in French so that is also another challenge we have."

Frankton Shadrack of Vanuatu's Live and Learn.