22 Sep 2005

Vanuatu children learn their mother tongue at school

10:09 am on 22 September 2005

All kindergartens in Vanuatu's Penama province have started teaching the children in their indigenous language in line with an order from the Ministry of education.

Penama province secretary general Augustine Garae says theirs is the first province to introduce indigenous languages in kindergartens.

Mr Garae says the order was made following a world bank report on education in the country and its recommendations to start teaching children in their own languages and only introduce them to English and French when they are in class two.

This is based on evidence that children who begin their learning in their own language learn faster at a later stage.

Vanuatu has 83 inhabited islands and a total population approximately 200,000 people.

It has 113 different languages and 126 dialects and English and French are taught and spoken as official languages.

Vanautu gained its independence from Britain and France in 1980 after 74 years of joint colonial rule.