DE-DAN-ENN/TWO-IN-ONE

We often hear people say that Mauritian, our national language, is too poor a medium to express complex and intricate thoughts. Is the language deficient or is it the native speaker who is at fault? Pa mwa sa, li sa! A chicken and egg argument. This week I have chosen to present my views in TWO creole languages: English, a world lingua-franca and Mauritian, a local lingua-franca. I leave it to the functionally literate readers in both languages to decide, not any foul-mouth Tom, Dick and Harry ( ‘pa nenport ki nenport ki koze pou labous pa pi’).

FOOD SECURITY

According to experts, global warming and climate change will make food security a worldwide problem. There are 4 aspects of the problem to consider.

1. The amount of food that must be produced to meet the growing needs of a growing world population when basic resources such as arable land and water are becoming scarce.
2. The right quantity and quality of food to keep people healthy and fight obesity and diabetes. Eating habits must change.
3. Intensive agriculture (monocrop and the use of chemical products) and animal breeding make the land poorer and poorer and less and less fertile. Production methods must change.
4. There is too much wastage. Reducing it is a question of do or die.

Instead of looking after nature as stewards of God, we have thoughtlessly decided to rip and rape Gaia, our Mother Nature, to satisfy our selfishness and greed. According to the Gaia hypothesis a point will be reached when, after prolonged suffering, Earth will hit back and the consequences will be devastating.

We have already been witnessing calamities linked to human errors (global warming, deforestation, destruction of bio-diversity) in the world and on our island. The floods in the north of Mauritius may have been caused by intensive de-rocking and levelling to facilitate mechanization and increase profits. Is nature hitting back? Are we blind?

Is humanity prepared to change lifestyle or will it simply follow the Trumps, Bibis, Modis and Bolsonaros on the road to extinction?

SEKIRITE ALIMANTER

Tou bann exper dakor ki sofman global ek sanzman klimatik pou fer sekirite alimanter vinn enn mari problem mondial. Problem la ena 4 aspe.

1. Kantite manze ki bizen prodwir pou satisfer bezwen plizanpli gran enn popilasion mondial ki pa pe aret grandi kan resours bazik kouma later kiltivab ek dilo pe vinn plizanpli rar.
2. Kantite ek kalite manze ki nou bizen konsome pou nou pa tom malad e anmemtan konbat maladi kouma obezite ek jabet. Kiltir alimanter bizen sanze.
3. Lagrikiltir entansif (monokiltir ek itilizasion prodwi simik) ek lelvaz zanimo pe fer later perdi so lafors e so fertilite pe bese move kalite. Metod prodiksion bizen sanze.
4. Ena tro boukou gaspiyaz. Rediksion gaspiyaz li zordi enn kestion lavi-lamor.

Olie nou okip lanatir kouma dwatet, kouma veritab zardinie Bondie, san panse nou pe desir ek viol Gaia, Mama Later, pou satisfer nou prop zwisans, nou gourmandiz ek nou lanvi majakarro. Dapre ipotez Gaia, apre enn long period soufrans, Mama Later pou sap lor kal. Lerla bez lor baz!

Deza nou temwen dega koze par nou prop erer (sofman global, destriksion lafore ek biyo-diversite) dan lemonn e lor nou prop lil. Li bien posib ki inondasion dan lenor Moris li koze par tir ros dan karo ek met later plat pou fasilit mekanizasion e ogmant profi. Eski lanatir finn plen ar nou? Koumsa nou kaylous?

Eski dimoun lor later pare pou sanz zot manier ousa zot prefer swiv bann Trump, Modi, Bibi ek Bolsonaro lor sime ki al fini dan marenwar?

23.08.19

3 PRIYORITE LEDIKASION

It is believed that the word ‘EDUCATION’ probably comes from the Latin word ‘educere’ which means ‘to lead out of …’ Lead out of what? Out of darkness, ignorance and prejudice into experience, knowledge and wisdom. We know what we have to do BUT how do we proceed to do it.

Education does not mean mastering several languages as it is perceived in the Maritime Republic of Mauritius (MRM) but coping with the following in this order of importance:

1. UNIVERSAL FUNCTIONAL LITERACY: This is defined by UNESCO as the ability of all citizens in a given country to “engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective function of his or her group and community and also for enabling him or her to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his or her own and the community’s development.” In the modern world literacy is an essential tool for development and not just a passport to office work. Most people in MRM believe that manual workers have no need for literacy and fail to understand that in a post-oral society the transmission of knowledge is done through the written word and the full enjoyment of our rights and responsible shouldering of our duties rest on literacy skills among other things.

What is the situation in MRM? We boast of a high national literacy rate and this is the biggest national lie. We love to fool ourselves. Less than one third of MRM population possess the required functional literacy skills; most can just scribble something that looks like a name or simply use their thumb to describe their identity. Why is that so when we invest massively in education? Simply because we have an irrational, unsound and idiotic language policy. Nowhere in the world are children asked to master literacy skills in three foreign languages at one and the same time while their mother tongue is ignored.

UNESCO advises that basic literacy should start in the mother tongue of the child and foreign prestigious languages should be taught at a later stage. Disregarding this has led to the production of semilinguals (persons who know two or more languages but exhibit low profile in all of them, that involves having poor vocabulary and wrong grammar) and half-baked intellectuals. Politicians, teachers, parents and self-appointed leaders are to blame for this absurd and counter-productive and destructive practice. We are destroying the children’s potentials to grow harmoniously.

I am sure that some self-congratulating nitwits will take all this as rubbish and embark on a denial campaign based on thin air. My reply to these hardened experts at self-delusion is: If literacy skills in MRM are really high, then there is no need to have political symbols on our ballot paper and all MRM citizens will be able to do well in the UNESCO literacy test and write a 150 word text on themselves in any language of their choice respecting all written language rules. Let’s put them to test!

The real shame and waste are that we have the resources to build in MRM a genuine course in bilingual literacy for all citizens but we seem unable to take the right decision. We prefer to focus on non-issues and irrelevancies; take preconceived ideas as gospel truth; refuse to admit facts; and worse of all, choose mud-slinging and character assassination instead of rational arguments. We prefer NOT to know because knowledge does incite action. If properly handled, our national language, Mauritian, and our official language, English, which are both creole languages are valuable complementary instruments to attain the goals of sustainable, universal functional bilingual literacy.
This does not mean that that our semi-official language, French, and the different identity languages should be ignored. The teaching of languages and language learning should be planned and staggered.

2. KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Another important function of education is to help us know who we really are for self-knowledge is an important road to wisdom. Yet we prefer to bask in myths and ill-digested concepts. We reject the findings of science when it tells us that Africa is the cradle of humanity; we reject the works of philosophers and historians who say that the MRM archipelago is made up of creole islands. Some even question and reject Darwinism as haram. In the past, some racists called Mauritius ‘Petite France’. Now we have a new brand of racists who call Mauritius ‘Little India’. “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Socrates said this a long-long time ago. But we refuse to learn.

3. KNOW THE WORLD YOU’RE IN. A sound education should inform the citizens of MRM on global warming, climate change, food insecurity, destruction of bio-diversity etc. and prepare them to face these man-made calamities.

If education helps to tackle these problems, then democracy will thrive and healthy development will take place.

15.08.19