C++, Java, Esperanto.. anyone?


The education ministry is in the process of revamping the national syllabus which is said to include interesting many changes to the national curriculum. One such interesting and controversial change the ministry is pondering is offering foreign languages to secondary students which are said to include Chinese, Japanese and French. Another change they want to usher in is making Islamic studies and Dhivehi language optional which is proving to be controversial as there is opposition from mainstream to such a drastic change without public consultation.

On the issue of new foreign languages, the religious party Adhaalathu pointed out a similar case of curriculum change in Turkey which modified their ultra secular stance to include Arabic as the country has many important cultural and economic ties with middle east. Retorting on the Chinese, Japanese and French languages as optional subjects to be offered to students in Maldives, the party mentions it would have been better to offer languages Sinhalese, Tamil and Bengali which are languages of our neighborhood countries which all aspects of our country’s commerce is tied to.

Although not much commented about, this draws an important point about the choice of subjects and disciplines the ministry is considering to offer to students which clearly needs better direction. If we take a look at each language and our relation to that language in particular, we see these languages falling in the category of art and such cultural aspects of education which bigger and more advanced nations can dwell upon because of their wealth and affluence. Developing nations needs talents more in the line of crafts, and sciences which will build and the strengthen the country, after which the bourgeois can come in and setup shop. So instead of offering Chinese and Japanese language to students, the education ministry could offer them computer based languages like c++ or java or something in the line of AI (artificial intelligence). Instead of French as a subject, which was the bourgeois language of the past taken over by English, a substitute can be offered in Esperanto which is an artificial language nobody really talks. That is if the ministry is adamant that it has to be a language.

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8 thoughts on “C++, Java, Esperanto.. anyone?

  1. Hi All,

    Esperanto is spoken around the world and I suggest to provide the same to the children too. This will help us look the world from a different point of view. I am so sorry, if you already took English or any other language as your language. Because it’s where the difference lies in.

    Regards,
    Kotha Naga Siva Kumar.

  2. You seem not to understand the difference between programming languages and natural languages. While both share many common characteristics, programming languages are formalized mathematical languages and can not be used as substitutes for natural languages. Furthermore AI is not a language as you seem to be believe.

    You may think Chinese is irrelevant and unnecessary, but China will soon be the largest economy in the world and a knowledge of Chinese will be very important for businesses soon. This fact is already understood by the western countries where more people are learning Mandarin and Cantonese.

    As you claim to be a resort worker you will have undoubtedly noticed the increase in the number of Chinese tourists to Maldives. Soon it might be necessary to know a Chinese language in order to work in certain resorts. So you should probably start learning now if you don’t want to lose your job to the new multilingual school leavers of the near future. 😉

    1. As for the languages, the point which we raised was about the choice of languages the ministry was considering and their relevance to the society. Tourism sector certainly needs foreign language skills but weather burdening the students in middle and high school with those languages against providing the same skills in hotel school curriculum was the better choice needed to be answered first. Chinese, Japanese and French are certainly most relevant to the tourism industry however our current economic policies seems more geared to create other sources of income rather than relying on one industry. So if we weigh the priorities of teaching natural languages against technical and scientific subjects in schools, the answer would have been apparent. For a developing country, strong basic foundation skills are a must to develop.

  3. Sorry to correct just one little mistake: Esperanto is indeed spoken by many people. And, yes, it would be great if Esperanto were offered in the curriculum. It is so easy and it opens so many windows…

  4. If the ministry is unable to decide which ethnic foreign language to offer students in the Maldives, perhaps it should explore the possibility of offering a non-ethnic ‘apprentice language’, a simplified model language showing how to learn another language, together with basic language awareness training and basic grammar. Your tongue-in-cheek suggestion about Esperanto may have hit the nail on the head. This is in fact the core language now used in the Springboard to Languages program in the UK:
    http://www.springboard2languages.org/home.htm
    The assertion that ‘nobody really talks’ Esperanto is simply not true. See for example:
    http://www.eventoj.hu/ > Kalendaro > 2010
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Esperanto_Congress
    India: http://www.reocities.com/bharato/

  5. “Esperanto which is an artificial language nobody really talks” – if you think that, you have never been to an Esperanto congress! Talk, talk, talk all the time…

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