New private school set to open by 2020

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New private school set to open by 2020

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:48 pm

New private school set to open by 2020
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=254907

Sirop14

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The Big Interview with Marie-Therese Hossen, formerly in charge of the development of the Curriculum for Creole

Post  Sirop14 on Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:41 am

The Big Interview with Marie-Therese Hossen, formerly in charge of the development of the Curriculum for Creole


Monday 23 October 2017
The Big Interview with Marie-Therese Hossen, formerly in charge of the development of the Curriculum for Creole
“Creole defines my identity”
“I believe that Creole is a very important language that our people should be proud of. It is a language with which one can achieve a lot in life,” says Mrs. Hossen.
by J. Florentine
Your professional background in the Creole sector…
I used to work at the Ministry of Education. I was the Senior Education Officer for schools and in charge of the development of the Curriculum for Creole. I was given the responsibility to develop programmes to introduce Creole in the educational system. A section called the Creole section was created in the ministry. I worked on the different levels in primary school starting with primary one.
When the Lenstiti Kreol opened, I was its first Director too. I was there for a few years. I did a lot of work to promote the Creole language. I then became the Director General for the Department of Culture and after that, Special Advisor to the Minister for Education who at the time was Danny Faure. After that I retired.
However, I am still on the Creole Committee and we are working on the Creole Dictionary. I am still very active with activities related to the Creole language. And as much as I get the opportunity I always defend the language.
How did the Lenstiti Kreol come into existence and what was your role in the institution at that time?
When the government saw the need to have an institution to look at research and the development of the Creole Language, the Principal Secretary at that time, Jeremie Bonnelame, approached me to head the institution. I accepted the offer and moved from Education to the Lenstiti Kreol.
At the time Creole was institutionalised they did not have a building and I was running the institution at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters. That was in 1987. It was only in the year 1989 that the building was inaugurated at Au Cap. The project to refurbish the building was financed by the US government.
It was an old building which had fallen into ruins. But nonetheless, they tried as much as possible to keep its architecture. On 26 October 1989 it was inaugurated as the Lenstiti Kreol and we formally moved in the building. At that time there were around six of us working there. I was the director for a couple of years only. It was then occupied by Penda Choppy who has been the longest serving Director and CEO of Lenstiti Kreol.
It is to be noted that when I left the institute, it was placed under the responsibility of Mr. Radegonde. It was later that Mrs. Choppy went there through her interests in anthropology. I was a language teacher specialised in linguistics and was given the post in this capacity.
What was the objective of Lenstiti Kreol at that time?
The objective of the Institute was to create tools/materials for teachers and for the population in general so that they have an insight into how the language works. We wanted to see how the Creole language is developing both in Seychelles and in other parts of the world, conduct research and develop linguistic tools to show the people how our language works and give it the importance it deserves. We wanted to show people that it is not a language to be ashamed of. It is an important language just like the others.
Its mission was to see how Creole was evolving. For instance, when looking at its orthography back then we saw that different people would write Creole differently. Hence we needed to develop a writing system or what we call orthography to allow a standard way of writing the language. We also had to see how the grammar functions because some people thought there was no grammar in Creole. But there is no language without grammar otherwise it would not be understandable. All of these have evolved over the years. It does not mean that all the words are still written and used the same way.
At that time there was already a piece of work on our orthography by Mrs. De St. Jorre and Mrs. Boulet, however, after recommendations were made Lenstiti Kreol worked on an established orthography which is still being used. Even if we do make mistakes at times they are not major ones. We codified the orthography and wrote small books on word formations and syntax. Nevertheless, I later on assembled all these information to write a grammar for Creole language.
One important thing which should be considered when working on a language such as Creole, which had remained an oral language until the early 1980s when we started using it a lot in writing, is that we needed to create literature in creole. This is because people needed to see that there is a wide range of work in the Creole language for them to appreciate it. To make that possible we encouraged people to write manuscripts to bring to us so that they could be printed and published.
In doing so, definitely there was some culturally-related work we needed to do. For instance, research on folklore and stories of long ago for example.
Many people say there is no future with creole…
This is not true. One can reach university level with Creole. A lot of universities provide the opportunity to study the Creole language. Popular universities in England, the United States, France and others have programmes on Creole language.
What can you say about the evolution of the Creole language?
At some point people were saying that the Creole language had disappeared. But however, when I went for my university studies in 1966 this attitude towards Creole had reversed. It was recognised as a language just like English and French. Certainly English and French are international languages which are widely used. But the Creole islands are scattered across the world with differences in their languages. This is just like the different types of English and French which exist around the world.
The Creole language, just like every other language, evolves. Nowadays people tend to use a lot of English words in Creole, which has been adapting to the situation. Moreover, long ago people did not express the form of plural in Creole but nowadays it is the case. (Example – Long ago they would say ‘zanfan pe vini‘ compared to nowadays where they say ‘bann zanfan pe vini’. As a person who has worked a lot with language, I would sometimes say it is the wrong format but there’s nothing wrong with it as it forms part of the evolution of the language. It’s just like English. Previously, they would have asked you not to say “It’s me” but to say “It’s I”. However, nowadays everyone says “It’s me”.
Do you think people see the importance of Creole and valorising the language?
In some ways, yes, ome people are valorising the Creole language. For instance, if we look at the National Assembly. At the time the District Council was formed - I was still young at that time - proceedings were carried out mainly in English. Certain members also used French. But nowadays they debate in Creole. Before that we barely saw official meetings in creole. However, at some point many more things were done in creole.
I do understand that this attitude of using English and French forms part of our past colonisation and some of us still have negative attitude towards the Creole language and don’t see its importance. Seychellois love the English language. I’m not saying they should not as I believe that at this point in time we should know or learn different languages because the world is fast developing. I remember one day someone said he hated Creole. But how can he say that when he is a Creole? It does not make sense. Some people still think it is an inferior language.
Nowadays something which is becoming increasingly popular is the fact that parents speak English or French with their children which becomes their first language. This is a very sad thing though the other languages are important as well. But Creole is our language and our identity. I cannot say English is my language as I am not English. Creole is. There is the cultural identity which people should realise.
There are definitely technical words that we will have to use but it does not mean that we will stop using Creole and choose another language.
What can you say about the use of Creole in education?
Many people think that Creole should not be incorporated in the education system or learning and that it does not help in learning mathematics. This is not true because learning mathematics has got nothing to do with the language. It is about learning the concepts.
I remember when we introduced Creole in education the children performed better in mathematics than when they learned it in English. Nowadays people say that the standard of education on the decline. I do not agree with this. More people now have Masters Degrees and PhDs, how can they say this? Just because some children are having difficulties in reading they say it is the reason education is declining. I don’t believe this.
What is happening, however, is that the state schools are competing against the private ones. They cannot think like this. These parents who choose to send their children to the private schools have different backgrounds compared to those of the state schools. Nonetheless, there are students from the state schools who do come out with great results.
Long ago Creole was used a lot in teaching. Research has shown that one of the best ways to learn is through the mother tongue. To learn another language for instance you definitely need to use your mother tongue or first language. This shows the importance of our language.
It is said that Creole is going to be introduced as a subject in secondary schools. What is your view on this?
This is a very god initiative. We get the teachers to teach Creole in classes but their highest level of qualification in Creole is Primary six. A teacher should have at least a Secondary Five level of Creole. It should be like English and French. At least they need that qualification to teach the primary students. In the process they will acquire more knowledge on the language and consequently express themselves better in Creole. Some people know little about Creole. This is why they cannot defend it.
This year, we are celebrating the 32nd edition of Festival Kreol. How have you seen the festival over the years?
At some point, the Festival Kreol was a big national event. As soon as the event was over there was a secretariat that started immediate work in organising the next festival. Nonetheless, along the way the festival lost its importance. This year I see they are trying to revive it compared to the past few years. In some way it was eclipsed by the Carnaval International de Victoria. But people did not realise that Carnival is only about displaying the costumes. This is how I see it.
I also believe that it solely depends on the organiser of the event to give it the importance it should have. In addition it also depends on the funds allocated to organise the festival.
What is the importance of the Creole language for you as an individual?
It is first and foremost our language. I like it that I can express myself in English and French as well but my language is Creole; my identity that makes me a Seychellois which for me is the most important thing.
Can you talk about the work you have done in relation to the promotion of Creole language over the years.
I have written many plays and also translated many classic books in Creole such as Alice in Wonderland and 2000 Miles Under The Sea. Those books are at the Lenstiti Kreol but there are many in schools as well.
Long ago when stories were told over the radio, those who did not have radios would tell these stories to other members of the family at night, for example, Myths and Legends (Kont ek Lezann). I worked on the translations of many of these books to develop our literature.
I also wrote a couple of books for schools and work which are curriculum-related.
What are your biggest achievements?
I’ve participated in many competitions and received prizes. Two years ago there was a big exposition in America where all the work done over the world and translations of the book Alice in Wonderland was in exhibit. The copy of my book was also sent there. I also organised courses to teach civil servants on how to write Creole.
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