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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 21) – All kindergartens in Vanuatu’s Penama province have started teaching children in their indigenous language, in line with an order from the Ministry of education.

Penama province secretary general Augustine Garae says theirs is the first province to introduce indigenous languages in kindergartens.

Mr Garae says the order was made following a world bank report on education in the country and its recommendations to start teaching children in their own languages and only introduce them to English and French when they are in class two.

This is based on evidence that children who begin their learning in their own language learn faster at a later stage.

Vanuatu has 83 inhabited islands and a total population approximately 200,000 people. It has 113 different languages and 126 dialects and English and French are taught and spoken as official languages.

Vanautu gained its independence from Britain and France in 1980 after 74 years of joint colonial rule.

September 22, 2005

Radio New Zealand International:

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