Dialects from Chin State Taught in Australia
06 November 2012: New classes to study Zomi, Falam and Matu dialects of Chin State, Burma have been opened at the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) in Melbourne, Australia.
The face-to-face classes are made available with the help of the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood programme, according to the Chinland Today.
In an opening ceremony last Saturday, Antonella Cicero, Area Manager, said the program is aimed at protecting and promoting one of the unique cultural values, an ethnic language that has been used from generation to generation.
The classes are held on Saturday mornings between 9am and 12:20pm with some evening sessions, according to the VSL website.
Since 2009, teaching of Hakha Chin dialect has been offered at two different centres of the school in Melbourne, an Australian city with the highest number of Chin population estimated to be over 2,000.
“This is an opportunity for us to preserve our language as we are not allowed to study our own language in Burma. We are grateful to the Australian government and VSL for making it possible,” a Chin community leader told Chinland Guardian.
Most of the Chins arrived in Australia as refugees under the UNHCR Resettlement Program from Malaysia and India after having fled brutalities committed against them in their native place by Burma’s military regimes.
VSL currently offers over 40 languages with about 13,000 students in face-to-face classes at 12 centres out of school hours.
Started in 1935, the Victorian School of Languages is a government school committed to providing language programmes for students who have no access to studying those languages in mainstream schools.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang