29 Sep 2014
- By Richelle Agpoon-Cabang - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
THE Public School System wants to expand the teaching of the Chamorro and Carolinian languages in elementary and high schools, Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan told the Board of Education recently.
In an interview on Friday, Sablan said they will be pursuing the expansion which includes a subject in high school that focuses on culture, heritage and language.
Currently, Chamorro and Carolinian cultural heritage and language is being taught in elementary school up to grade 8.
“The program has been there ever since — we just want to expand it,” Sablan said.
But they are still in the process of hiring teachers who are proficient in speaking the native languages and who know their native tongues well.
“If you are going to teach the language you have to be proficient. The cultural part is not difficult to teach, but when it comes to language people need a teacher who is fluent in it,” she added.
In a separate interview, John DLR. “Bolis” Gonzales, volunteer member of the Northern Marianas Descent Corporation, said his group believes that teaching the local languages should begin at home.
“Parents play an important role in introducing the language at home,” he added.
He said a majority of the children in this generation do not speak Chamorro or Carolinian.
“They have to use the language,” he added.
Sablan, for her part, agreed with Gonzales, saying that although the school’s primary function is to teach the language to the students, education must start at home.
“I am a strong believer that education begins at home and parents are the primary teachers of children. It does not matter if you are Filipino, Carolinian or Chamorro — this community must do something to promote local culture and heritage,” she said.
A recent report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization stated that 14 languages in the Micronesian region are no longer used and are considered extinct.