Indigenous languages could be compulsory in CNMI schools

2:35 pm on 29 March 2016

A bill mandating the teaching of the Chamorro and Carolinian language in public schools in the Northern Marianas will be introduced in the legislature this week.

Northern Marianas College

Northern Marianas College Photo: RNZ Mark Rabago

Under Felicidad Ogumoro's bill, the two indigenous languages of the territory would be compulsory in public elementary, junior, and senior high schools throughout the islands.

The Chamorro or Carolinian language must be used and spoken at all times in such classes, according to the bill.

Mr Ogumoro said these languages directly link and hold indigenous people to their culture, heritage, and identify, and therefore, the Chamorro and Carolinian languages must be preserved.

The bill also tasks the Public School System to hire qualified or certified people to teach the languages, notwithstanding other requirements imposed by PSS for other teaching positions.

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