Over 250 Chin children study their native languages in Australia
11 February 2014: The Victorian School of Languages (VSL) in Melbourne, Australia has provided language courses on Falam, Hakha, and Matu to students, originally from Chin State, Burma.
More than 250 Chin children enrolled on their selected language and have started sessions for 2014 since last Saturday, according to the Chinland Today news.
VSL staff members are quoted as saying that they received an increasing number of students that year and that they hoped their language skills would improve through the programme.
Jesse Bawi Tihlum, a 10 Grade student, commented in the Chinland Today news that the course helped them to understand not only their language but also their culture and tradition, adding: “It is such an important study.”
The majority of Chins arrived in Australia as refugees from Malaysia and India after having fled their native places in Burma, where studying ethnic languages had been banned by successive military regimes.
Classes on some Chin languages have opened in Melbourne since 2009. According to the VSL website, sessions on Zomi are also available at one of its centres.
As the largest single provider of languages in Australia, the Victorian School of Languages is a government school that runs language programmes for year-1-to-12 students who do not have access to the study of these languages in their mainstream schools, according to its website.#