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Fiji Time: 7:35 PM on Friday 25 April

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Need for vernacular teachers

Shayal Devi
Monday, February 24, 2014

THERE is a need for more qualified teachers in schools to teach conversational vernacular languages, says the Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Agni Deo Singh.

Mr Singh, who is also the Fiji Teachers Union- Co-operative Thrift and Credit Limited board chairman, said the teaching of conversational Hindi and iTaukei was implemented in schools in the late '70s and early '80s.

"It was introduced then but there were no resources provided for implementing this learning," he said.

"It is good to note that the teacher training today includes learning of vernaculars by trainees. However, if we see schools directly, many of them do not have Hindi and iTaukei language teachers."

Mr Singh said it became necessary for schools to teach the two vernaculars but with the increasing number of mixed schools, it became hard to achieve this.

"We have seen many of the schools are mixed meaning that iTaukei and Fijians of Indian descent are all students.

"This usually entails to them being taught in a common environment with one common language English. They only learn vernacular when the different teachers come in for their classes.

"Teachers are overburdened and have to exchange classes. While we are very glad that some emphasis is being laid on this, the truth is we need more qualified vernacular teachers."