Local languages to be taught – Coltart

david_coltart_educationBULILIMA The government has intensified efforts to have indigenous languages taught in schools nationwide with Education, Sports, Art and Culture Minister David Coltart (Pictured) saying it was time to take the matter seriously.

These languages deserve to be taught and spoken especially at schools where they are most predominant, he said during a tour of schools in Bulilima district.

Kalanga is the dominant language in the district but it is not taught in any of the schools.

I am committed to smaller languages. All indigenous languages are going to be taught in schools and for the first time you are going to get books in indigenous languages, said Coltart.

He said a significant portion of the US$70 million donated by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to revive the education sector would be spent on publishing textbooks in minority languages.

We reached an agreement with the donor community to produce a million textbooks and within that number, there will be books in indigenous languages as it is important that children be proud of their heritage, he said.

The minister said there should be a strong lobby for the incorporation of a provision in any new constitution covering the need to use minority language as a medium of instruction in schools .

It is a constitutional right that the local community and ethnic groups have to advocate for their rights to be heard in the constitution. They should lobby to have their views listened to, he said.

Coltart said if minority languages were to be taught in schools, it followed that there should be teachers who are versed in the respective dialects.

The ministry has to make sure that there are teachers who can instruct and teach the languages, he said.

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