In the context of the World Kreol Language Day Ledikasyon pu Travayer has sent this letter to the Minister of Education of Mauritius.
Ledikasyon pu Travayer
153 Main Road, Grand River North West,
Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius.
Minister of Education, Hon. Steve Obeegadoo,
Ministry of Education and Science,
31st October, 2003
We are writing this letter to you about the medium used in schools. We would like you to take this letter as a formal notice that your language policy is harming children.
You have been in charge of the Ministry of Education for the past three whole years now. As the Minister in charge of education, you are responsible for children who go to school in Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Agalega. In particular you are now legally even more directly liable for any harm that children come to, once education has become compulsory, and after your recent hard-hitting campaign to force parents to send their children to school. Your Department therefore doesn't provide education only to parents who choose to send their children to school now, but actually compels parents to send their children to school, failing which you can bring criminal charges against them.
It is, thus, imperative that school does not do any harm to children.
If children do suffer harm from attending school, whether the harm is inflicted on purpose or through negligence, or even ignorance, and especially if the harm has long-term effects, it is you that will be liable for damages. It is you that will be liable for reparations. And more importantly, it is you that will have been responsible, and thus you who will have this harm on your conscience for the rest of your life.
Hence, this letter is to warn you that your politics on the medium of education amounts to no less than "linguistic genocide" being perpetrated in schools.
And today, in the context of the World Kreol Language Day, we are making a formal and public appeal to you to stop killing children's mother tongues in school, through the politics of excluding Mauritian Kreol and Mauritian Bhojpuri from schools, thus forcing children to change from their own linguistic group to the group of another. We are formally making an appeal to you to stop making children suffer the severe mental harm that is provoked by the constant insinuation in schools that children's mother tongues are inferior, are of no use or are not real languages. The damage done is inestimable.
This letter is to explain to you in detail the harm that you are causing to children in Mauritius. This letter is to explain to you that everywhere in the world all linguists and all human rights activists agree with us when we accuse you of the crime of 'linguistic genocide'. And once you have been formally informed by this letter, you cannot then continue the same harmful policies.
We are writing because maybe you don't know about the genocidal effects of your policies. Maybe in the future you will plead "ignorance". Maybe the Government will plead ignorance.
We note that you had announced that you would decide about the use of mother tongue in school after consulting UNESCO. It depends, you announced, what UNESCO tells you is best. Then in an interview in Le Mauricien of Saturday 27th September, you say that UNESCO says that the mother tongue/s must be used. Naturally, UNESCO says that. All experts in the world have been saying this for a very long time now. Then, when UNESCO gives you this reply, you change your story. You now announce, in that same interview, that you will not listen to UNESCO. You will not heed UNESCO's advice. You will, instead have two small "Obeegadoo pilot projects", just one school in Mauritius, one in Rodrigues, where you will study the question yourself, because UNESCO's advice is suddenly not good enough.
This means that you intend to continue pretending, though UNESCO has informed you of the contrary, that you are unaware of the harm that school is doing to EVERY CHILD because of an erroneous policy on the use of the medium of education.
The issue of what medium to use in school is not just a question of "Which medium will get children better test results". No, this is not the only question. Although we should put on record that clearly all studies in the entire world, as you well know, have already proved beyond all doubt that mother tongue instruction produces better results in all subjects, from science to additional languages, from subjects that involve creativity to subject that demand reasoning. We have a section on all this research later in this "Open Letter".
What is much more important in the use of mother tongue (and here we are speaking, in the first instance, of Kreol and Bhojpuri) is that it permits all children to develop their intelligence better. Their cognitive progress is very much faster and gets to a higher level (throughout the rest of their lives) if they learn through their mother tongue at school. It is not just a question of exam results.
Human language is a natural capacity that all human beings have. It is our means, par excellence, of understanding the world around us. Our linguistic capacity develops before we ourselves even realize it in small babies, and then during all their childhood, and on for the rest of their lives. If we develop a child's mother tongue well, and if there is no policy forbidding or hampering this development, if the child becomes high-level literate, he or she will be able to operate up to a high level, he or she will be able to study to a high level, he or she will be able to make an academic contribution to a high level. Language is thus like a dynamic natural "template" or "scaffolding"; it is not just something we can describe by the mere cliché: "language is a means of communication". Birds' chirping, too, and even telephones, for that matter, is "means of communication." Human language is much more than that.
There is a world of difference between what; in the education profession are called Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) . In Mauritius, most children, even those who get as far as University, show signs of having severe problems in cognition, that is to say in CALP. A university lecturer attests to this difficulty with her students. In a second or even third language, we cannot pretend to outstrip our development in our mother tongue. Put another way, our cognitive developed is being handicapped by being continually brought back to the level of our knowledge (BICS-level) of foreign-languages used in writing in schools. Thus, you are responsible for systematically hampering the crucial natural development of children's intelligence through their own mother tongue.
If we develop this capacity (i.e. high level cognitive and academic proficiency) in our mother tongue, then we will be able to become equally capable in other languages. This is what is called high-level bilingualism. It means the mother tongue to a high level, plus another language that can develop to the same high level, too, that is to the level of CALP. High-level trilinguals are those who have developed their mother tongue to a high level plus two other languages to the same high level. High-level multilingualism means the ability to operate at a high level in the mother tongue and then in many other languages almost as well.
Your school system, M. Obeegadoo, is continuing making our children "demi-lingual".
What do we mean by this "demi-lingual"? You are making children suffer serious incapacity as a result of harming the natural development of high-level linguistic skills in any language. What we are accusing you of is of preventing children from developing high-level cognitive and academic proficiency.
If somebody is "mono-lingual" to a high level (that is, they have CALP only in Kreol or only in Bhojpuri), that person will still, theoretically, be able to get along in terms of cognitive and academic proficiency. How many Anglophones manage with just one language? But, more to the good, he or she can then become a high level bilingual or trilingual (CALP), provided that he has reached a high level in his or her mother tongue. In LPT, as far as we are concerned, we are in favour of all our children becoming high level multilingual. And all the studies show that those who are high-level bilinguals or multilingual become more intelligent than those who are high-level uni-linguals. Mauritius could stand to gain immensely by changing this retrograde policy of stifling the mother tongue.
If someone does not develop his linguistic skills in his mother tongue up to a high level, then, after formal schooling, it can take up to an additional nine years of formal education to compensate for the loss of the reduced development of the child who has been subjected to education not in his mother tongue.
We also accuse certain high up officers at the Ministry and at the MIE and some academics at the University of having a fawning attitude towards you as Minister of Education. They pretend that they think that Kreol and Bhojpuri are not good as the medium because they "get the signal" from politicians in power, like you, that this is what they must say to be in your good books. But, when Prof. Derek Bickerton was here, at a seminar with high-up officers, all of them agree with him vocally that the only possible medium of instruction is the mother tongue. The same thing when Prof. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas was here. All sorts of lecturers and top academics agree with her when she says that Kreol and Bhojpuri must be medium of instruction. When Dr. Neville Alexander was here, no linguistics academic in Mauritius challenged him, when he said we must use the mother tongue. There is a simple reason for this. No linguist anywhere in the world can say in front of a panel of his colleague linguists, that it is advisable to use a language which is not mother tongue as medium in schools. In fact, anyone who maintains this is suffering from a severely colonized mind.
The prejudice against the Kreol and Bhojpuri languages, that they are supposedly inferior languages, comes directly from colonial times, when the colonists and their academia, the civil servants and even the religious hierarchy, believed and spread the false belief that these languages are inferior. They believed they were inferior for the simple reason that they believed that the people who spoke them were inferior. The people who spoke the languages were slaves. They were indentured labourers. So, their language was, thus, inferior.
Do you, Minister, still think this?
Or you just apply your politics as if you still think this?
Sir, imposing either totally or partially unknown (or erroneously grasped) languages as medium in education flies in the face of all established pedagogical principles that have been established and continue to be established. But more gravely it flies in the face of the human rights principles that have been established, and that are continually widening their scope as the struggle for more respect for the fundamental human rights of everyone on the earth continues.
No child's mother tongue is inferior to any other language.
We say that your Department is, by the following policies and practices, giving the clear and harmful signal that Kreol and Bhojpuri-speaking children's language is inferior.
Absence of any text books in either Kreol or Bhojpuri.
Failure to teach even literacy and numeracy through Kreol or Bhojpuri. Instead you force young children to learn foreign languages at the very moment when they are being forced to learn literacy and numeracy through these languages, thus ruining the Songs and games, all forms of play are the ideal pedagogical tools for children to learn through, and these should be in Kreol and Bhojpuri, too, and should be used scientifically. teaching of literacy, numeracy, French and English.
Absence of books to read, failure to develop songs and games, in Kreol and Bhojpuri.
Absence of any examinations in Kreol or Bhojpuri
Absence of Kreol and Bhojpuri as subjects in schools.
Tendency, because of your language policy, for teachers to transmit to children a feeling of disaffection for their parents' language.
Failure to train teachers in how to use the children's own language so that children understand with any precision in class, and express themselves with the precision necessary.
Tendency for children to be forced into rote learning as a last resort, in the effort to continue to exclude Kreol and Bhojpuri.
Tendency to flaunt all pedagogical principles by creating an immense and useless social distance between the child's home and the school, by imposing a language hierarchy.
Tendency to increase the trauma of school and to and cause moral damage to children, and this, in turn; works to hamper full development during schooling, and even long after a child has left school.
Tendency to flaunt the basic pedagogical principle of starting with the known and moving to the unknown. Instead you encourage the ridiculous practice of using the unknown to learn the unknown.
Tendency to consciously increase the linguistic distance between teacher and books, on one hand, and the pupil, on the other, instead of making the relationship into one of trust.
Mr. Minister, you cannot just continue with the old colonial interpretation of language rights. Your department must also begin to show a little respect for the science of linguistics, which has, for over fifty years now, proven that Kreol and Bhojpuri are the equals of any other language.
If you do not, you are showing disregard for the elementary rights of the child.
Some aspects of linguistic human rights are even already in the Mauritian Constitution and in the International Human Rights Conventions, even if they are, so far, still in an embryonic form.
It is in the spirit of all the human rights legislation that all human languages are "equal". This is independent of their written status, the number of people who speak them, whether they are spoken or sign languages, or any other factor whatsoever. We would like to point out that Kreol and Bhojpuri, incidentally, are amongst the "big" languages of the planet, i.e. those spoken by over a million speakers.
It is in this spirit of human rights that we must stop the colonial prejudice that allowed education to be dispensed in languages the children do not speak naturally. We must change, so that the best education for the child is given, and this is the best education for humanity as a whole.
Through generations of heroic struggles against colonization and through the struggle for Independence, we have gained a number of Constitutional Rights. Section 12, for example, of the Constitution protects and guarantees our freedom of expression, which includes the right to receive and impart information and spread ideas and information without any interference. Using the wrong language is an impediment to free expression.
Internationally, the struggle for children to be free to learn through their maternal language has, so far, culminated in Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention, ratified by States including the Mauritian State (in 1990), assures children the right to education, and the freedom to seek, receive and spread information and ideas orally and in written and printed form without any discrimination. Despite this, you continue in your discriminatory policy of blocking the children's use of their own language.
Sir, we remind you that in 1994, the United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC) in its Report on Mauritius noted with concern that Kreol and Bhojpuri, the languages used by a vast majority of the population, were not being used in the Mauritian education system, and that the Government was actively discouraging the use of these languages in all its institutions. Are you going to continue to flaunt the concern of this august body?
In 1996, the UN Human Rights Committee under the Convention on Civil and Political Rights in its Report on Mauritius recommended that measures be taken to at once begin to publish educational materials, especially for children, in the vernaculars, i.e. Kreol and Bhojpuri. Your predecessors did nothing about this - with the notable exception of Mr. Kadress Pillay, who in the first draft of his Plan, did address the issue, but later capitulated. In your three years, until today, you have done nothing whatsoever. And now you come and say you will start two tiny little pilot projects?
Sir, you will remember that the May 1975 students strike was a rebellion whose main thrust was for the decolonization of education, and for the use of Kreol in schools. The strike did have one positive effect, when it directly brought in free secondary education, but otherwise the degree of colonization in education is still overwhelming, especially as concerns the medium of instruction.
At the level of the African continent, the process of decolonization is more advanced. In 1987 the Language Plan of Action, initiated by the OUA (now incorporated into the African Union, one of its documents) spoke out for the use of African languages as official language and as medium in education. Mauritius, which is a signatory to the Language Plan of Action, has an undertaking, therefore to introduce Kreol and Bhojpuri as medium. But the Government has never respected its commitment.
Today you are announcing the construction of schools all over the country, which is a good thing, and you are imposing compulsory education, while at the same time continuing the measure of forcing a foreign medium on Kreolophone and Bhojpuri phone pupils. Your actions make you act against the spirit of both the Constitution and the International Conventions adhered to by Mauritius. And of course, you continue to harm generations of children, generations of peoples.
The State is, in fact, hindering our people in the natural expression of our languages, Bhojpuri and Kreol. It is this that makes the Government responsible, through the schools in particular, for a crime against humanity, the crime of linguistic genocide. That is what we are accusing you of, Mr. Minister.
Any authority or any individual in a position of power that hinders a people in the natural expression of his language, is responsible for linguistic genocide, and we will explain exactly how.
There are two instances.
Firstly, linguistic genocide is when the State forces children to abandon the language of their parents, through, for example, a wrong language policy at school.
Government is forcing children to acquire additional languages in a way that is called "subtractive", and it is this "subtracting" of the natural language of our people, that causes the Government to be guilty of "linguistic genocide". When we use the term "linguistic genocide", we are using United Nations definition on linguistic genocide, crime against humanity. Children are learning the language that school teaches at the cost of the mother tongue and this represent linguistic genocide, because it is removing a child from his or her group (Kreolophone or Bhojpuriphone linguistic group) and placing him or her in a different linguistic group (Francophone or Anglophone).
Article II (e) of the United Nations Convention on Genocide reads: "Genocide is forcibly transferring children of a group to another group". Government is forcibly transferring children from their own group to another linguistic group through education of children being dispensed in a dominant and foreign language, English and French, at the expense of their mother tongues, Bhojpuri and Kreol, as medium of education.
Linguistic genocide means prohibiting the use of language of the people, either in every day life, or as concerns us in this letter, in schools, or prohibiting the printing, circulation or publication in the language of the people. Government is responsible for this "linguistic genocide" by refusing to prepare and publish books for school in Bhojpuri and Kreol. Government is prohibiting the use of Bhojpuri and Kreol by failing to make it an official language, while imposing other official languages in school.
Bhojpuri and Kreol do not have official status nor political status and are not used as the principal medium in education.
There is a second way in which you are committing linguistic genocide, according to the UN definitions, M. Obeegadoo. Last year Ledikasyon pu Travayer invited a linguist of international reputation, Prof. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, to give a Public Lecture on this theme, and this is what she said: "If a child does not learn in his mother tongue and is forced to learn in a foreign language [what you are doing], this will do serious mental harm to the child." Article II (b) of the United Nations Convention definition says that "genocide [also] means causing serious physical or mental harm to a group." In our case in Mauritius this means that Government is causing serious mental harm to up to 93% of the population, all those who speak Kreol and Bhojpuri.
Testimony in Mauritius
Now we are going to take three examples in Mauritius, our country, where many intellectuals congratulate themselves that "we are a country of multi-lingual people", but who would do better to admit that your policies are making us a "country of demi-lingual people". We hope that these three brief testimonies will help you and your advisors understand the gravity of your error, Minister Sir.
First testimony (woman now 30 years old):
In my family we all speak Kreol, and my mother and father never spoke French or English at home. My father never went to school. He is a thinking and intelligent man, who can hold conversation in Kreol, English and French. (As if he is an example of "additive" apprenticeship of languages). I went to school in Richelieu Cité for my first two school years, and every thing went well. When my parents moved house to Port Louis, I had to change school. This was upsetting, but inevitable.
One day, in Standard 3, I felt sick at school hours. My tummy was sore. I urgently needed to go to the toilet. When I went to ask the teacher permission to go to the toilet, she said no because I must address her in French. She told me that I would have to write 200 lines of "Je dois m'adresser a mon Miss an Francais." That day, when I was not permitted to go to toilet, I defecated in my clothes.
For the next year, I was bullied and mocked for two things: that my French was poor and that I had "tata dan lenz".
My father was very angry and wanted to take me out of school. And sometimes, until today I wonder if that would not have been better for me, because I remained miserable at school right through to college. I am, like my father, self-taught, really.
2nd testimony (man now 43 years old):
In French,, when I was in Standard 6, the teacher (a man called Mr. I.D.) made us to this remarkable exercise, supposedly to develop our capacity to speak French with a good accent. He made us put a pencil inside our mouths, cross-wise, like a horses' bit, and then read aloud. With a pencil in your month like that you look like an animal being trained. It was terrible; violence against children to force us to speak French.
3rd testimony (a child 11 years old now):
When I was in Standard I, my teacher told us that we must speak French so as to seek permission to go to toilet. This made me unhappy in class.
These three testimonies show, to what extremes this "mental harm" can go. But in fact, every day, when your policies serve to insult children's mother tongues, it, too, is extreme "mental harm" being caused.
Government is continuing to encourage English and French to be "killer languages" in Mauritius, instead of additional advantages. English and French are the two biggest "killer languages" in the world. In Mauritius too. This is because of your policy to force children to learn these languages subtractively i.e. at the cost of the mother tongue, rather than additively i.e. in addition to the mother tongue.
Now that we are making this grave accusation against your policies, it will be clear to you that we are going to step up our campaign for the use of Kreol and Bhojpuri in schools, and for other languages to be introduced additively, so that we can put an end to this linguistic genocide.
Research and studies on medium and schooling
Since 1953 UNESCO has publicly recognized that "It is axiomatic that the best medium for teaching a child is his (or her) mother tongue". This UNESCO position is based on scientific research by expert pedagogues of international repute. Right up today, UNESCO has continued re-affirming this position.
Recent studies have again and again continued to confirm the UNESCO stand. All thinking experts are in agreement. Let us look at the major findings of the recent research.
1. All researchers agree that use of the mother tongue, especially in the first years of schooling, is unquestionably of benefit to the cognitive development of the child.
The conclusions of the research by Nadine Dutcher read: "The most important conclusion is that, when learning is the goal, including that of learning a second language, the child's first language should be used as the medium of instruction in the early years of schooling. For optimum results, the first language should be continued as the language of instruction through primary school. If feasible, the first language of the student should be included among the subjects in secondary school when the language of instruction has changed. The first language is essential for the initial teaching of reading, and for comprehension of subject matter."
2. Many researchers openly claim, and they almost all agree implicitly, that mother tongue education gives the child self-confidence and a stable identity. Children are known to participate more and with more enthusiasm in class if the mother tongue is used. The degree of personal assurance and critical engagement with teachers is greater when the mother tongue is used.
Studies in 64 different classes in Mozambique in 1997 and in two Provinces of Bolivia where children speak Quechua have confirmed this.
3. Development at school in the mother tongue helps in the acquisition of new languages. The research shows that if children are forced to learn through a language that they are not at ease in or do not master, that they suffer immense disadvantages and that the disadvantage can almost never be compensated for later.
The clearest study is that of David Ramirez in the USA. He did an eight-year longitudinal study, 1983 to 1991 in 51 different primary schools in the States of California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey. In all 2,000 students whose mother tongue was Spanish took part in the study, which also involved their parents. The aim was to compare three groups of children relative to how they were using Spanish and English in education and then to compare their academic competence after 6 years of following their progress:
(i) Where at school the children were taught entirely through English;
(ii) Where at school the children had up to 40 minutes a day until the end of the second or 3rd year of primary school;
(iii) Where at school the mother tongue was used as medium for at least 40% of the time every day until the end of 6th year of primary school.
This study showed that the longer the mother tongue was used, the better the child performed academically. Those who learnt through the mother tongue until the 6th Standard did much better than the other two groups, even in the English language itself. The children not only caught up with the Anglophone children, but tended to do better than them See attached graph.
Other studies in Haiti, for example show that Creolophone children who learnt through Haitian Creole in school developed a better competence in French, their 2nd language, than those who learnt through French , plus naturally they did better in cognition and other non-language subjects.
What the studies show is that the development of a child's mother tongue is more important for later acquisition of a second language, than using a second language for teaching. Many people used to think that using the medium of a second language (say English or French) was an advantage, and that the earlier this started the better. But all the studies only go to prove that this was a myth. A harmful myth at that. A famous study in Nigeria showed that children who speak Yoruba and who were taught through their mother tongue from 1st to 6th Standard do much better than the children taught through English, in all subjects, including in English. .
We read the same results from a study by the Guatemala National Program for Bilingual Education. Children taught in their mother tongue have a better performance in all subjects including second language learning.
An example from Papua New Guinea
The population in Papua New Guinea is around 5 million, and it is the country, which has the highest number of languages in the world. There are more than 850 different languages. Before, education was mostly through the medium of English. But, there has been a great development, and during the year 2002, education in the pre-school, and the first two classes in school were made in 470 languages. Not 2, as we are asking, Kreol and Bhojpuri, but 470.
Papua New Guinea is not one of the richest countries in the world.
What are the results? They started this experiment in 1993, or 10 years ago. I will read the results from David Klaus's study. "Children become literate more quickly, and easily. They learn English very quickly and easily than their siblings did under the old English-medium system. They do not drop out. Children including girls stay in school. After the first six years, the children have an obligatory examination. In those provinces, which started first in 1993, children who had mother tongue media education had much higher results, in the end-examination, in English, than those provinces, which still taught, through the medium of English from Day I."
A comparison from neighbouring countries, Zambia and Malawi
There is an example from Zambia and Malawi, according to a study made by Edward Williams where there was a study with 1,500 children in grades I-VII, from 6 to 14 years.
The study showed that all the Zambian children were educated through the medium of English. The study concludes that there was large numbers of Zambian children (all educated in English) have very weak or zero reading competence in 2 languages.
In Malawi the children were taught in various local languages, which were mostly there mother tongues. During the first four years of school they had English as a subject, and from fifth year they started learning all in English.
When Edward Williams compared their English language competence to that of the Zambian children, he could see that the Malawi students had a better test result in English that the Zambian students.
Statistics on Languages usually spoken in Mauritius
There are an overwhelming number of Mauritians who speak Kreol and Bhojpuri in Mauritius. This means the scope of the problem of linguistic genocide is immense. Here are the figures.
Languages usually spoken at home in the Republic of Mauritius according to the government Census of 1990 and 2000
Total population 1,056,660 1,178,848
Creole 652,193 ( 61.7 %) 826,152 (70.1%)
Creole & another language 93, 899 ( 8.9 %) 123,118 (10.4%)
Bhojpuri 201,618 ( 19.1 %) 142,387 (12.1%)
Bhojpuri & another language 21,953 ( 2.1% ) 7,645 (0.6 %)
French 34,455 ( 3.3%) 39,953 (3.4%)
English 2,240 (0.2%) 3,512 (0.3%)
Other 49,208 (4.6%) 32,190 ( 2.7%)
Extracts of figures from official Census on language usually spoken at home in 1990 and 2000.
These figures show the extent of the use of Kreol and Bhojpuri.
They also show the immense progress of Kreol. Whereas in 1990, 70.6 % people said they speak Kreol or Kreol & another language, in 2000 80.5% said so.
In 2000 those who say they speak Kreol and Bhojpuri has progressed from 91. 8 to 93.2%. Only 5% of the population even claims the high status languages English, French and Other Oriental Languages.
What Ledikasyon pu Travayer proposes
Ledikasyon pu Travayer, says that the Ministry of Education must stop murdering the intelligence of children.
1. We propose that the Ministry of Education once and for all begins to use the mother tongue of children, Kreol and Bhojpuri, as the medium of education.
2. Ledikasyon pu Travayer is proposing that all necessary measured be taken for the gradual introduction of Kreol and Bhojpuri as medium from 2004.
3. We propose that the Minister of Education organizes a series of "National translation Competitions" for all the textbooks used. Government must offer prizes of (Rs 100,000 or more) to the teacher who does the best translation of each text into Kreol and Bhojpuri.
3. We propose that the Minister of Education offers Kreol and Bhojpuri language as a subject as from when children go to primary school.
4. Ledikasyon pu Travayer proposes that government recruit a group of professional linguists with experience to draft a full-length Mauritian Kreol grammar, and to continue to develop the scientific study of the Kreol language. The same thing for Bhojpuri.
5. We propose that government create a Department for the Study of the Kreol language, and another Department for the study of Bhojpuri at the University, MIE, MCA, MES.
The fact that many teachers, through their trade unions have already taken a stand in favour of the introduction of the Kreol language as medium of instruction, the fact that many teachers already use the mother tongue when they are teaching children because it is most efficient means that the co-operation of teachers can be expected.
This change will also permit parents to contribute to the education of their child.
A second type of genocide
In conclusion, we would like to draw your attention to another serious problem once schooling has become compulsory. Till today, there are many regions where there is only an RCEA primary school and no government school. This means, if we understand Government's position, that an education of a religious "specificity" is dispensed. Once you make it legally compulsory for parents to send their children to school, how can you force parents in Tamarin or St Pierre (or any number of other areas) to send their children to have religiously "specific" education dispensed? This will, we are obliged to inform you, be another form of genocide, this time based on transferring children from one religious group to another, by way of conscious Government policy.
As you can see, once schooling becomes compulsory, you as Minister have additional responsibilities not to hard children. You are legally and morally bound to build secular schools in all areas. If not, you will be liable to pay reparations for genocide. And, more importantly, you will be responsible for an immense harm done to children.
You must, as from now, since we have made you aware of the problem of linguistic genocide, immediately make preparations to introduce the mother tongues as medium in schools.
We hope that you will immediately start a process to put a stop to the persistence of these colonial policies, which have gone on too long.
We wish to assure you that we in Ledikasyon pu Travayer will continue the fight for the liberation of children from the domination you are continuing to impose on them.
Alain Ah-Vee Lindsey Collen