Introduction of creole in schools

Yesterday, while driving back home from the bloggers’ event, we started to discuss about an interesting topic with Phirbhay, Ashesh, Saajid and Dakshinee.

I asked Phirbhay what he thought about the introduction of creole in our educational system. Also part of the discussion, where will this language help us and what happens if someone does not agree about the “standards” being set up for creole at the University Of Mauritius.

Everyone knows how it is difficult to read in creole since each of us have their own way of writing creole words. Some examples are “Croire, craw, kraw” or I don’t know what more! More simpler “Moi or mwa”.

To tell you frankly, I am not really enthusiast about using creole in our schools. Sure, it is our mother tongue but I believe that it will definitely not be of any help outside the Mascareignes islands and some other neighborhood islands. It is indeed more easy for us to learn things when taught in creole but to what extent? Does this consist of written material purely written in creole? Who will actually “invent” those words? And what if someone doesnt agree with the words used? Will this eventually become an official language?

So many questions in my head and probably yours too.

Any concerns on your behalf?

39 thoughts on “Introduction of creole in schools

Add yours

  1. well considering the linguistics side, i think arnaud carpooran and his creole dictionary has already set-up the standard on how to write the creole words, plus before he came in people had already started to figure these kinds of things out. Issue about writing creole are not from yesterday and i think that today the issue is pretty much solved. Will creole be of any use, outside of mauritius… the answer is not at all, the different countries where creole is used have different pronunciation and are written differently. for all intents and purposes they are to be considered a different language altogether (although there are similarities). Considering the issue of creole at schools, it is true that research has shown that children learn more easily in their mother tongue, problem is non of those studies have been done in mauritius, it is thus not very useful to generalise research conducted outside the local context. from a social and psychological point of view i find that creole to be taught in schools is a good idea (as a non examinable subject). Mauritius is very low on national identity, we are more divided that we are united, creole can be an aspect around which mauritians find common ground. there is not many things that all mauritians can agree to be proud of, but i think Creole can become one of these things if treated more honorably and not as a second rate language, lesser than french or english…
    as Mr Gibson once told me: Creole is your language and you should be proud of it.


    1. @Bruno : wow, nice article! Thanks for sharing!

      @Yudz : I agree with you, but not completely.
      It depends on the way the spoken language is being used. Perhaps some of us have always considered it as “vulgar” becauses of the different uses which actually made it seem as vulgar.
      Creole is already used in the teaching process, I believe that the authorities want to make it “official” now.
      To end, I would say that if you swear someone in creole, people will say “Guet sa sov*aze la!” but if you swear in english, the same people will say:

      “Hey, line cone zourer en anglais :P”

      @sebastien : I am not ashame of it, just in case. I just want to know what people think about this, thats why I wanted to share.
      It is a good idea sure, I dont deny it, but how will this be introduced? I strongly believe that creole will definitely “bridge the gap” between “grand dimounes et ti-dimounes”.
      You mentioned a point “non examinable subject”. Does the authorities want to make creole examinable now, or perhaps this may come later on?

      btw, do you mean Mr Gibson from SJC? 😛


  2. creole is considered as a vulgar language. just compare it with french or english.

    ta lichien – how vulgar!
    You dog! – it has class(w/ authority) in the accent

    same with hindi and bhujpuri – hindi is nice but bhujpuri sounds vulgar.

    well, i described them as vulgar but it also has a sense of closeness. when you speak in these language, the barrier of communication between people are less compared to english.

    you can say creole n bhujpuri are informal languages, and english n french are formal ones.

    it is out of question to teach in creole. it will degrade the quality of the next generation.


  3. This is a long topic …

    “Sure, it is our mother tongue but I believe that it will definitely not be of any help outside the Mascareignes islands and some other neighborhood islands. It is indeed more easy for us to learn things when taught in creole but to what extent?”

    The answer to this lies in the following article:

    Here’s the relevant excerpt:

    One explanation for the Finns’ success is their love of reading. Parents of newborns receive a government-paid gift pack that includes a picture book. Some libraries are attached to shopping malls, and a book bus travels to more remote neighborhoods like a Good Humor truck.

    Finland shares its language with no other country, and even the most popular English-language books are translated here long after they are first published. Many children struggled to read the last Harry Potter book in English because they feared they would hear about the ending before it arrived in Finnish. Movies and TV shows have Finnish subtitles instead of dubbing. One college student says she became a fast reader as a child because she was hooked on the 1990s show “Beverly Hills, 90210.”


  4. seki bizin faire c ene karimelange anglai, franC et creole dans morice quan ena pou enseigner!

    Nou pa servi ene seul langage nou pou nou exprimer ou bien comprend!

    Nou morisien nou bizin servi creole aussi dans montrer apprann et arett declare tro francois ou bien mem kouma dir banna tenor koz anglai!

    Kozer li dir!

    wawa! Ritzz lor baz!


  5. Yashvin, as you said, creole is already being used in schools. For instance when I was in primary school I remember my teacher was using a Frenched Creole. I think this should be held like that. Setting up too many guidelines and rules on the proper use of creole could actually be hectic, requiring much training. Without forgetting the kids, they’ve had enough with all those subjects they have to study. Imposing other changes on them might cause disturbances.


  6. Well, though am ok to speak creole, I really don’t think it will be a bright idea to teach it at school.

    To me it’s a new strategy the high class people have thought of to create a larger gap between the poor.

    Where will it benefit them? At work? Even in hotels as a cleaner you will be in contact with foreigners who don’t speak nor understand a single creole word.

    “Good morning, could you please direct me to a place where I could get a cab?”

    The cleaner won’t even be able to answer that…”ki eter sa cab la? cab telefone?”

    This is the total extreme, but it’s an example…

    Instead of rising the standards, we are plunging into an inferno….

    Trust me, this creole teaching at school is totally a devilish device from those people whose kids don’t even speak creole at home and go to Le Bocage, L’ecole du centre etc…

    And the stupid, stupid poor class people think that ya! Bizin apran creole dan lecol, nu langaz maternal sa!

    I wish I could slap them! Grrr!!!


  7. Interesting to read all the comments here on how you perceive the local creole language. The Mauritian creole is very much a localised language with its expressions that are only relevant in this country i.e. the creole in Martinique or Guadeloupe is very different. You have a tendency to mix English words into your creole, a heritage from the past colonialism. While I am all for the spoken creole the written creole is somewhat confusing. I believe that using creole as standard in schools would not be very helpful and it would provoke a degradation of the learning of the French language such as mis-spelling and bad sentence formation. Having creole as an official language would not help anyone in dealing with the outside business world either.

    Conclusion: yes, creole helps at an oral level for clearer explanations in education;
    no, for standard written use since the need for correct French is required for external communications;

    Example; comparison with another country where there is also a local language (dialect) – Belgium in the Wallonia part of the country a local dialect of French is spoken, called Walloon. It is mostly just spoken between the people just like your creole but nobody uses it to communicate with others in the rest of the country. French is the official language.


  8. @Yudz and Reena
    English and French were just like Kreol in their humble beginings and Latin and Greek were the languages … a spoken language is alive and is always evolving … just like English has to be constantly updated and monitored … otherwise, why would Oxford hve to publish a new dictionary each year … why you they have to add or remove words? …

    Take the Finnish e.g., they speak finnish only in Finland but yet teaching in Finnish did not make them dumber than the rest of Europe … they are in fact the smartest

    Mo finn bizin ekrir en angle sinon banla pa pou cav bien compran ki mo pe dir


  9. Language is definitely a primary issue to be tackled in my agenda once I become the world’s president.
    A three-phased approach will be adopted:
    phase 1: Compulsory learning of Mandarin (Chinese)for all school children
    phase 2: Mandarin becomes the world’s only official language
    phase 3: All other languages than Mandarin will be banned

    The solved language barrier problem shall be one of the major steps towards world unification.

    As far as the “creol” language discussion…better not lose time with it, go learn Mandarin so that Mauritian can have an edge over western countries!


  10. @ Bruno

    Whether you believe it or not I think it’s just a way to increase the gap between the rich and the poor.

    “toi pov illétré travail kuma labourer mem, moi mo piti pu ale apran dehors…université anglais ou français…”

    Non, I still don’t believe it will work. Ok about the Finnish, but our main sector here is tourism where you deal with people NOT TALKING NOR UNDERSTANDING creole….

    Anyway, even I don’t speak creole at home…don’t see why my kid will have to learn that at school…


  11. to: Yashvin,Yes i was speaking of MR Gibson from SJC

    Creole in schools is already being used by teachers to explain things more clearly to children, as Morinn and others have said, i too remember my primary teacher explaining in creole…

    thing is we all did EVS(now called history i think) which is not very useful outside of mauritius or does not serve any purpose in regards to career and such… i mean is it really useful to knw about mahe de labourdonnais or about pierre poivre,etc… but still knowing about some of the islands history is interesting. learning about the basics of creole would have been to. Whats the vocab, the verbs, the structure… and it wont be as hard as french or english as we already practice creole… if that had occurred, i would have written this post in creole instead of english. (Mo pas sir couma pou ecrire tou sa bann mots la…en anglais mo plis sir li bon)


  12. So … si mo suiv zot l’idee, ban lang oriental kouma telegu, marathi … en gaspillaze, perte de temps a koz koparer ek hindi ek mandarin, zot pa attacher avec un gran lekonomie ek zot useless ekonomikment ek zot koze ziss par un ti klik de dimoun … donk bizin tir zot depi lekol? non?


  13. I don’t think that this is feasible! In order to use Creole as medium of instruction, teachers need to be trained how to teach in Creole!! Which will cost a lot of money to the govt. and also, textbooks will have to be modified.


    1. @Sheem : Thats a nice reply… However, I expected more arguments from you, you know why 😛

      @Bruno : Justement, langue orientale pas servi pu faire bane zeleves apprane maths ou fransais. A auken moment, nu (moi particulierement) mo pane dir ki li ene gaspillaze. li ena so raison d’etre la, et li deja exister. La plupart bane professeurs servi creole dans zotte classe, c pas ene secret. Ene bane raison kifer servi creole, c parseki zeleve la comprend plis, et surtout pu bane zeleves ki pas trop malin.

      You said something urself, I quote : “Mo finn bizin ekrir en angle sinon banla pa pou cav bien compran ki mo pe dir“.
      This is the reason why creole can’t have the same status as other languages like english or french.

      @Sebastien : I agree with you on the fact that we should know our mother tongue basics just as we know the history of our island.
      BUT you said something :
      “Whats the vocab, the verbs, the structure… “

      We don’t have such vocabular, verbs or structure in creole! Are we going to invent all those things and show people how to use them and “accorde verbes kant kozer?”
      This vocabular thing is totally nonsense. We have a mother tongue, we have been using it through generations, I don’t see why we should define the verbs now.

      @Our president : lol, reste la bas meme do!

      @Mike : As you rightly said, there are variations in the creole itself, just as the accents in different parts of france for instance.
      Also, nice statement from you, I quote:
      Conclusion: yes, creole helps at an oral level for clearer explanations in education; no, for standard written use since the need for correct French is required for external communications

      btw, sorry if I made errors while writing in creole 😛


  14. @ ReenaDKL said:

    “Anyway, even I don’t speak creole at home…don’t see why my kid will have to learn that at school…”

    (a) It’s your constitutional right but really shame on you if you’re Mauritian and said that

    (b) Creole in our educational system will only be use as a medium and a mean to teach. Teachers won’t actually teach creole. They’ll use creole to teach other “non linguistic” subjects. This “MAY” actually allow clueless “ti dimounes” understand some subjects better

    (c) As long as your kids live in Mauritius, you won’t be able to do anything about the fact that your kids WILL learn creole… whether you like it or not…

    (d) It’s not like people will ever stop learning french and english anyway. And no one will ever be able to teach French, English, Mandarin, Hindi in creole anyway.

    Many great great people spoke really poor french and/or english but have done wonders for the country. I don’t see any correlation in speaking creole and “degradation”

    My 2 cents worth..


  15. well it can be both disadvantageous as advantageous.. some concepts when explained in creole becomes easier to understand and thus u get the better mastery of the topic.. many of my chemistry classes are held in creole.. enfin not really it is french… but we cant forget people from the lowest strata of the population… children coming from these backgrounds are able to grasp things more easily when taught and explained in creole when compared in english… then it is hell.. with creole taught in schools.. pupils will hv the growing tendency of translating creole into english and thus score badly for olevel and alevel papers. n abt the writing style of creole… it has been there for a long long time and people are able to live without its standardisation though it is available.. how many of u have a creole translation dictionary on their shelves??.. in fact many parents disagree with this introduction f school level.. my parents do.. we;ve been grown speaking english and french.. now speaking creole at school level.. big impact lol 😛 parents teach their kids how to speak perfect french and english since the age of 2.. how to change this mind set?? they pay wholesome fees for their kid’s education in english medium or french medium school.. I dont think many parents will agree to the introduction of creole in schools.. if it has to be done then changes must be done to the education system of this country.. by teaching creole.. good creole from preprimary with the sensitisation of parents lol 😛 ::P


  16. Hi guys,

    to add a little bit more to this already long topic, i’d just say

    1) Many of us don’t speak creole at home (myself don’t speak it at home, and many of us who have kids speak French or English)
    2) Creole has all its glory, passion and uniqueness in foul words. In no other language can we take foul words and glue them together to form a sentence, paragraph and story, pages long, with a meaning. That’s what I love 🙂
    3) We Mauritians have one thing in common: we speak creole. And that’s our language to differentiate us from the world.
    4) Like some said, a language is a complicated thing: Verb before noun or vice-versa? How to write “moi” and “mwa”?
    5) As we’re more and more texting (sms and facebook), somehow a standard will be formed so that we may understand each other in writing. And that’s where we can see a change. A few years ago we would only write in English or French. Today, we do so in Creole. In some time, we’ll have to have T9 in Creole for rapid text input on mobile phones. Google in “creole maurisien” has seen the day. And someone made an attempt to making a dictionary. So things are moving.
    6) Use of creole at school: as of today, it’s no use to make it a language. Creole is not yet ready to be formal. As a medium for study: maybe since we understand better at times (but not all the times).
    7) Why would a kid choose creole to study when there’s so much pressure for CPE? Let alone the whole debate on Asian Languages!


  17. And taking a political view of it all: we have a timebomb, ready to explode for elections.

    Every community has an imported ancestral language: English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, Urdu, etc.

    Now come those who we call “creole”. How can we substitute the Asian Languages (or anything) for them? Eureka! We formalise creole for the next elections and people will vote this party.

    Here I’ve seen things as politics, communal, opportunistic and all the bla bla. But that’s another reality. Seen differently.


  18. @Dilraj : You said something very interesting,

    “Creole is not yet ready to be formal. As a medium for study, maybe”.

    Politics. How can we forget this great word which can change the world?
    Truely, thats another world!


  19. @ Bernardo

    You said: “(a) It’s your constitutional right but really shame on you if you’re Mauritian and said that”

    Don’t judge me…I have the right not to speak Creole like many hate English. My point is: Creole should be left as it is, spoken not taught. That’s the beauty of it…It’s very mean of you to judge people…

    I have my reasons of not liking Creole at school. I strongly believe and maintain the fact that it’s only another way the ‘rich’ have found to better drown the ‘poor’. IT’s thoughts like yours which make me want to give a few good kicks…

    As for the oriental language, it’s part of a culture. Even Telegu is widely spoken in India, as well as Marathi. Marathi is spoken in cities like Mumbai.

    By d way, yes, your thoughts are worth only 2 cents!!! (If not less! for judging people and don’t you ever dare say shame on me!!!) 😛


  20. Haha … i think i touched a nerve here

    Read your previous posts and see who’s the one judging..

    Again my 2 cents


  21. Hihi…am not judging but giving my opinion and not pointing a finger to anyone who shares his/her point of view, compared to some 2 cents (or less) worth brain 😛


  22. Hehe,uve got a juicy topic out there,it get everybody so confused.
    But I think it is what it a Rishi once said:communication is fruitless if not accompanied by mental pictures. whether if it is with signs or dancing, u should have the images playing in your mind.



  23. @ Yashvin: Creole has already been standardized for writing, its just that not many people knw about it, the standardized creole that is accepted nowadays is known as “Graphi larmoni”… (myself i knw its there but i havent learn the basics.) Arnaud Carpooran has already published the first creole dictionary. btw people have been trying to figure out how to write creole since the 70’s…i think that their work has finally lead to something.

    @ReenaDKL: I think you are giving too much credit to rich to devising such a strategy to increase the gap between them and the poor by using creole…people already knw creole well and teaching them a bit on how to write it wont affect their understanding of french or english. besides, to increase the gap between the rich and the poor they can count on the government for that…the whole mauritian economic system is made so that money breeds more money.

    From what i have read, creole used in schools is interpreted as either a medium for teaching (which is already happening some are denying it but its still happening) and as a subject in itself.

    I think that teaching creole as a subject in primary is not very useful, but i think that teaching it in form 1,2,3 has its merits.

    During these classes we learn a lot of subjects and half of that we wont be using later on. Why not add creole to the list, i did learn chemistry although i never used it later on (i chose eco side). I mean its interesting general knowledge, just as its interesting to knw that alkali neutralize acid (let me knw if am wrong on that :).

    As for creole as a medium for teaching, since its already happening, it should be recognised by the gov, and studies should be done on how teachers are using creole in their teaching, which strategies and methods used are more effective…etc, i can think of many hypotheses that would require testing… but i guess at the gov research is not a priority.


  24. some funny programmes which would be created:

    BSc (hons) Creole
    Bsc (hons) Bhujpuri

    we already have news on tv in creole (zurnal en creole-potiss). we will have newspaper in creole. err.
    Mauritius is supposed to be going global, not local, if it has to survive!


  25. @ Sebastien:

    Yes, maybe you are right. Am focusing too much on that. You see, one of the reasons I point that out is that I know one man (Mauritian, with high social rank and his wife, Mauritian, circling with high profile people) who wrote a Creole dictionary. Now the hic thing is that he NEVER spoke Creole at home with his kids. NEVER. I see that as hypocrisy. This is what really makes me sad and angry at the same time. He is promoting Creole everywhere but his kids are not supposed to speak Creole at home. They converse only in English, not even French!


    You are totally right, I agree with you about :
    “Mauritius is supposed to be going global, not local, if it has to survive!”

    The world has become such that the toughest has to survive. Mauritius is a simple dot on map. Our Creole is understood only by us. we have public debts plunging us deeper and deeper and what do the people want? Teach Creole at school to move forward and bring the country out of the crisis! Please, spare me that…

    Am a Mauritian and proud of it (compared to what some people might think) but am not stupid and ignorant. It will turn out to be the same as when the ‘Whites’ were ruling over the ‘Slaves’ and the ‘Indentured Labourers’.


    1. I agree with you on the point that we have a massive trade debt on our nations balance sheet. What can you teach in schools that will make these kids intellectual and reduce our trade deficit. Things like this should never be linked to a trade debt. Our schooling system doesnot churn smart people it is as useful as not studying at all. Such a comment has to be made at all times when some stupid language is pushed into the system. The problem with Mauritius is there is no fervor of national sentiment towards progress as nationalism is not a factor. A country and its culture should be based on values and ideals. Instead of having languages as subjects there should be credits issued on learning more about leaders in the world or around you as we have not many who have struggled and fallen in front of bullets to get our nations independence. My forefathers were slaves whose names i do not know. I am getting their names next month from the Nelson Mandela centre and will research and will write a memoir on their lives and I encourage people from the kreole community to know the truth about their ancestors. Please my friends we are not from Mauritius as most students I interviewed think. I asked them middle aged students approximately 100 students on the list 95% students never knew theyre forefathers were kidnapped from Africa by the same white peoples forefathers whose hotels they work in as cleaners and electricians. Call it free market with no retribution. Bob Marley and Jah and Rasta man didnot have his grandpas limbs chopped when he ran off to escape his master so please dont listen to the lies in the media that smoking weed is cool its bad for you and will make you delusional.


  26. A language is a powerful tool, especially when your mother language. Emperor Qin, founder of China, united various states with one language – more than 2000 years ago. I believe that it should be introduced at school but it will not work. Politicians and activist are simply rushing into things and eventually it will be a flop.

    I do not agree that creole does not have a structure or grammar, it simply is that we talk different variant of it. Without having words to describe actions, things, relationship amongst things (the basic of a language), we cannot communicate. I am talking about verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives etc. In Rodrigues they have been teaching creole as tested subject for years. If I am not mistaken, it even forms part of their CPE exams. No wonder the Rodriguese think that we speak rough creole. Maybe we can use what they are already teaching.

    Creole can certainly be a great tool to teach with, especially in deprived areas. I also believe, however, that what is missing in the curriculum is “Mauritianism”. Are we patriotic enough? What makes a Mauritian? What does it mean to be a Mauritian? Again, creole as a taught subject can be useful for this purpose.

    However, I do not think we should rush into things. It has to be well thought of, well planned and allow much debate on the topic on its usefulness, disadvantage, etc. We need thinkers to provide their opinions. Their should be trials at certain schools. Also, why not have it as a discipline at the UoM (research on its origin, structure, ways of teaching, patriotism….). But these things take time and certainly not a couple of months.

    One other thing is that we should not think of a language to be inferior – it be mandarin, cantonese, urdu, hindi, marathi, telegu or creole. Be proud of our language, be proud of our culture.


  27. moi personally mo pa dakor r sa moi.. as a meadium of teaching li dats already hapenin in mitius.. nw si fer sa vin 1 sujet.. kk net.. kot sa pou amen nou?? pna aukun recognition dehor moris.. perd 2 temps.. mais ena ‘dimoune’ p fer sa vin 1 zafer religion sipaki bla..bla….


  28. i totally agree ith you. i will dislike school if we have to learn creole.there’s nothing to learn about it and seriously it won’t help us.i hope they don’t introduce creole at school.


  29. Creole not ready for a proper graphism? OK, maybe, it’s still a dialect. But, as (another?) Tahir Hussein Pirbhay said: how do chinese students learn english language? Does the teacher enter the classroom and starts spekaing English direk-direk? or is there a transition, “un accompagnement”, in chinese dialect (hakka, mandarin, whatever..) for some years until fluency is reached. Same for ALL countries. Sauf Dodoland. We are alienating potential talent by allowing this linguistic apartheid being entrenched by pseudo-pedagogue trade unionists who are actually businesspersons… Shame on them!


  30. @ReenaDKL: i totally agree with Reena because i don’t love CREOLE 2. we live in a democratic country and in a diverse pot of, we do have the ultimate right to speak in whatever languages we want.Being a Mauritian does not simply mean that we should speak creole and by the way i don’t know why people insist on making use of creole @ school when many teachers speak that language with students. English being an international language should prevail in the education system and all parents should help their children in doing so. i Believe that if “their is a will there is a way.i live in a working class family where ENGLISH is not a medium of language at home.But i must say that my parents encourage me a lot and with their support i usually outshine my middle-class mates.what the majority of us lack is good will.why do children in deprived areas in Mauritius find it difficult to learn English and insist on using creole? i don’t think they are weak or even are average students.i used to fail in English but now i must admit that i’v successfully been able to climb the upper echelons.all we need is determination and perseverance.nothing is gifted to us.try having good will and then we’ll see whether we should introduce creole at school.


  31. Creole is a dialect it has no written original script. To have such a language taught in school’s is funny. From the way i feel about it such moves do not have any significant intellectual value of any sorts until and unless someone tries to have this based on existing literature or atleast we have a mass market of kreole speaking people in the world where there is any sort of specific business opportunity with the language.Like in case with what happened to Bhojpuri when it got dropped similarly from the syllabus. Well if this move is to appease the kreole community to give importance to their language then it is no good as we have to respect their culture in the first place. Most Hindus and Muslims identify themselves as speaking in Bhojpuri. The kreole community is very much confined to kreole as its language. Well French is very much the administrative language here. English is not the administrative language believe me please dont make a mistake like me and read atlas and wikipedia before you come here as I made a mistake. It said English is the administrative language. Or I believe its only for the aristocrats at the Parliament house isn’t it.. Please Mauritians its not wizzz its with and please when you speak english try to speak english not some mangled stuff.. Students that I lecture sometimes will translate the sentence from kreole to English and use the same syntax. You can localise your language but not at the cost of making it sound like something else. P.S an advice for all you folks MBC 3 has BBC almost the whole day please try to watch it. That is the best thing our government broadcasts on the propaganda tube 24/7 in our motherland please not muzerland…… Please get rid of the dictator and lets have some democracy for a change… the is not z please …. learn some phonetics.


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