Move to put Amerindian languages in schools
Stabroek News
November 25, 2003

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Studies showing that children learn better in their native language is just one rationale behind an initiative to incorporate Amerindian languages into Guyana's education system.

A seminar at Hotel Tower yesterday included opening greetings in Akawaoi, Lokono/Arawak, Makushi, Patamona and Wapishana. Addresses were also given by the Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey and Amerin-dian Affairs Minister Caroline Rodrigues.

Vanda Radzik, a member of the seminar committee, explained the rationale to reaffirm and revive indigenous speech, including formulating literacy or bilingual education within relevant programmes. Also mentioned were the various methods that could be used to introduce native languages to different regions.

Rodrigues emphasised the importance of domestic language in Guyana. "It can help people in many different ways, practically and also in terms of brother knowledge."

She hopes that one, if not two, native languages will be brought into the school curriculum. Jeffrey, in formally opening the seminar, noted that, "Research has demonstrated that children in their formative years have studied better in their original languages."

As for learning difficulties, seminar Chairman, Ian Melville stated that support and motivation would be the key to good teaching and education.