10 Aug 2005

Kanak languages to be taught to New Caledonia primary school pupils

7:14 pm on 10 August 2005

New Caledonia's primary school curriculum will include Kanak languages next year.

New Caledonia's President, Marie-Noelle Themereau, says Kanak languages could be taught in primary schools as early as February.

Beforehand, the territorial congress must approve a series of new school books, which have taken 200 experts three years to prepare.

In geography, a more prominent place will be dedicated to New Caledonia and the South Pacific region.

The territory's 35,000 primary school pupils have until now had exactly the same curriculum and school books as children in metropolitan France.

New Caledonia's education minister, Charles Washetine, says the new curriculum has been drawn up to teach the children of the Noumea Accord.

The Accord was signed in 1998 and outlines the gradual transfer of powers from France to local authorities over a twenty-year period.