Conversion into Anglophone school of French speaking public primary school at Mangliliu (North Western Efate) - September 9, 1999 - Emalus Campus
In 1983, Chief Murumuru Kanaure established the village of Mangaliliu in the North-West of Efate and made a request to the Government that it establish a primary school there. The closest school was on the island of Lelepa obliging pupils from Mangaliliu to cross an arm of the sea if they wish to attend school. Attending that school meant that students are only able to return to the village on weekends and public holidays.
In 1995, after the death of the Chief Murumuru Kanaure and after the community verbally offered 3 hectares to the Government for the construction of the aforementioned school, the community made a new request to the Government. The Government agreed to open a school in 1996 and designate a part time French speaking teacher for the post.
By the beginning of 1997 no French-speaking teacher was named at the post. The village received a visit by Mr. Kalpokas, Minister of Education. He suggested making the Mangalilu school an appendix of that of Lelepa which would involve converting it into an Anglophone school. He advised the villagers that the Government could not support two schools at the time.
Chief Keldot Kalotiti, after consulting with the parents of the pupils, decided to write two letters, one to General Manager of Eductaion Mr. Jjacues Sese and the second to the Provincial Education Advisor, Mr. Billy Kalsrap Bakokoto. Neither of these two persons answered the letters but a teacher was designated for the school. It appeared in the Gazette that the chief, Kalkot Kaltiti was appointed as teacher.
The school, which was francophone in 1996 thus became an anglophone school in 1997. In 1998, the school once again became francophone with the the appointment of the previous French speaking teacher, Mr. Tanimo Callixto.
It was noted following the investigation of the Ombudsman, that no serious study was carried out prior to the opening of the school and that the choice of the francophone instruction was influenced by political considerations. The people of the area considered that it would be easier to advance their cause if they had a French speaking school. The Ombudsmanís investigation also revealed that the change of language in 1997 served the interests of the Chief to the detriment of the students.
∑ That a clear language policy be stated concerning the creation of new schools and the way in which the language of teaching is chosen.
∑ That the students of Mangalilu, who are victims of these changes, each have a letter from the Minister placed in their file, justifying any delay in educational progress they have encountered.
∑ That the circumstances of the school at Managlilu be re-examined (lease, teacher) and that the Government commit itself to not changing the language of teaching.
∑ That a policy be established to stipulate that a Chief cannot teach in his own village.
∑ That the latent conflict within the village community of Mangalilu regarding the language of instruction be resolved by creating a bilingual school as a pilot project.
Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
© Ombudsman of Vanuatu
Published here by University of the South Pacific, School of Law Web Site - www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj