17 Oct 2012

American Samoa call for bilingual teaching

2:34 pm on 17 October 2012

Students in American Samoa say teaching in both Samoan and English could save the Samoan language in the territory.

At last week's youth summit in Pago Pago, the students told lawmakers that all school children want to be taught in both languages.

Presently all instruction is in English.

Senator Alo Dr. Paul Stevenson backs the students' proposal and says the language and culture are what identifies Samoans.

But another lawmaker, Lemapu Talo, says Samoan is already in the curriculum, and the main hurdle is finding enough trained teachers.

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has told the students he has been trying for years to set up a Samoan Language Commission that would set standards and create new words.

Faleomavaega says a commission could be run in partnership with the local community college and the National University of Samoa.