10 Mar 2011

Guam hearing on expanding Chamorro tuition

4:04 pm on 10 March 2011

A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow on a bill making Chamorro language courses compulsory for longer in Guam's schools.

Currently the law requires that public school students take only one year of Chamorro language and culture courses in middle and high school, and learn it at elementary.

Senator Mana Silva Taijeron says that's not enough to retain the language.

She says she's introduced this bill to coincide with the island's celebration of Chamorro Month, saying it is critical for language retention and promoting the culture better.

"There really needs to be a bigger push to get the Chamorro language, to give it a bigger emphasis. Because it's not a foreign language. And while some people will say let's lump it in with foreign language requirements, it can't be a foreign language as it's the language of our land."

Mana Silva Taijeron says if the bill gets passed into law, it will take effect from 2013.