Hindi in Fiji: make it compulsory in schools?

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at CCAT.SAS.UPENN.EDU
Sun Mar 27 17:12:41 UTC 2005

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>From the Fiji Times,  (Sunday, March 27, 2005)

Call against world trend

IT will take some time to integrate the Fijian and Hindi languages in
learning institutions as modes of instructions, the Ministry of Education
says. Ministry chief executive Alumita Taganesia made the comment after a
call by the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam last Friday to make the two
vernacular languages compulsory in schools.

Mrs Taganesia said the use of vernacular language as the mode of
instructions in schools and colleges "is going against international
trends". She said most countries had used vernaculars in the past had
reverted to English because their citizens could not adapt to most
international standards of communication. "It will take a very long time
in order for us to use the vernacular languages as the mode of
instructions in schools," Mrs Taganesia said.

Mrs Taganesia said the first 20 teachers especially trained to teach
vernacular languages in schools had a lot against them. "Right now we have
600 primary schools and 157 secondary schools around the country and this
is a big thing to make. It will take sometime before we can have the
capacity to use vernacular in schools," Mrs Taganesia said.

She said the Government did not have any official policy to endorse the
move to have vernacular languages as languages of instruction. She said
the issue could be addressed once her ministry had completed its language
policy and when it reviewed the Education Act.


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