Statement: Concerns about Curriculum

Preokupasaun kona-ba alterasaun sira ba Kurríkulu Nasionál Pre-eskolár no Ensinu Báziku
Concerns raised about alterations to National Preschool and Primary Curriculum

Data: 8 fulan-fevreiru tinan 2018
Kontaktu mídia nian: Cisca Alves, Fokupers (77310355), Sra. Rosy de Sousa (77779555)

 

Semana ida liubá, organizasaun nasionál lubuk ida no sidadaun na’in-70, haruka karta ba Timor-Leste nia Prezidente Francisco ‘Lu Olo’ Guterres hodi hato’o preokupasaun kona-ba proposta halo alterasaun ba Dekretu-Lei rua ne’ebé regula edukasaun pre-eskolár no ensinu báziku siklu dahuluk no daruak (to’o klase 6). Karta ezije Prezidente atu la promulga alterasaun sira, tan proposta halo alterasaun mai derepente de’it no la bazeia ba avaliasaun válidu no sientífiku, maibé tuir loloos la’o kontra peskiza barak ne’ebé suporta kurríkulu en vigora (ne’ebé la’o tuir lei agora daudaun).

Last week, a group of national organizations and 70 citizens sent a letter to Timor-Leste’s President Francisco ‘Lu Olo’ Guterres expressing concerns about proposed alterations to two Decree Laws which regulate the preschool and primary education curriculum to grade 6. The letter calls on the President to not promulgate the changes, asserting that the proposed changes are sudden and not based on valid, scientific evaluation, but in fact go against a great deal of research that supports the curriculum en vigora (still officially in place by law).

Iha loron 25 fulan-janeiru tinan 2018, loron ida antes Prezidente disolve Parlamentu no anunsia Eleisaun Antisipada, Konsellu Ministru sira hala’o enkontru ‘estraordináriu’ no aprova alterasaun sira ba Dekretu-Lei N°3 no N°4/2015. Husi informasaun uitoan de’it husi Prezidénsia Konsellu Ministrus, ema bele komprende katak alterasaun sira inklui aumenta oras mínimu ba pre-eskolár no determina Portugés nu’udar lian predominante no hatún Teten sai fali ‘auxiliár’ de’it iha kurríkulu.

On 25 January 2018, one day before the President dissolved Parliament and announced Early Elections, the Council of Ministers held a special meeting and approved proposed alterations to Decree Laws N° 3 and N°4/2015. From very limited information released by the Council of Ministers’ Office, we understand that the changes are understood to include increased minimum hours for pre-school and the designation of Portuguese as the predominant language of the curriculum, with Tetun taking an ‘auxiliary’ status.

Konstituisaun RDTL afirma Tetun no Portugés nu’udar lian rua ne’ebé ofisiál no afirma katak lia-tetun no lian nasionál sira seluk tenke hetan valoriza no dezenvolve husi Estadu. Maski lider balu fó sai mensajen sira kontráriu, kurríkulu ne’ebé aplika agora dadaun la hanorin lian lokál (lian inan) sira, maibé fó fatin ba mestre sira iha klase ki’ik sira atu uza lian sira-ne’e tuir nesesidade hodi apoia komprensaun no inkluzaun bainhira labarik seidauk hatene Tetun ka Portugés. Kurríkulu 2015 hahú hanorin literasia no numerasia ho lian ofisiál Tetun tanba labarik no família barak liu komprende Tetun kompara ho Portugés. Planu progresaun lian nian ne’ebé estruturadu ajuda estudante sira halo transferénsia matenek no kapasidade sira-ne’ebé dezenvolve tiha iha Tetun ba Portugés; estudu oioin hatudu katak metodolojia ne’e haforsa estudante sira-nia susesu eskolár. Objetivu fundamentál husi métodu ida-ne’e mak labarik sira hotu iha ita-nia rain iha koñesimentu sólidu ba lian ofisiál rua hotu no mós sai matenek iha matemátika, siénsia no dixiplina seluk tan, molok klase 6 nia rohan.

The Constitution affirms Tetun and Portuguese as the two official languages, and states that Tetun and other national languages must be valued and developed by the State. Despite messages from some leaders to the contrary, the curriculum en vigora does not teach national languages (‘mother tongues’), but does allow teachers in early grades to use these languages only as necessary to support understanding and inclusion, when a child doesn’t know either Tetun or Portuguese.  The curriculum en vigora teaches literacy and numeracy first in the official language of Tetun because many more Timorese children and families know Tetun compared to Portuguese. A structured language progression plan helps students to transfer the content knowledge and skills they have developed in Tetun to Portuguese; this methodology has been shown in various studies to lead to better school success for students. The ultimate goal of this method is for all children in the country to have a solid understanding of both official languages as well as understanding  in math, science, and other disciplines, before the end of second cycle (grade 6).

Organizasaun no indivíduu sira-ne’ebé asina karta ba Prezidente iha kompromisu hanesan atu iha edukasaun di’ak no inkluzivu ba labarik Timoran hotu-hotu, la hó apartidarízmu ida. Sira mós iha mehi hamutuk katak edukasaun bele sai sektór ne’ebé sempre valoriza aprosimasaun sira-ne’ebé bazeia ba evidénsia, la’ós instrumentu politikál.

The organizations and individuals who signed the letter to the President share a commitment to effective and inclusive education for all Timorese children, without any shared allegiance to a political party. They also share their strong hope that education be a sector dedicated to evidence-based approaches and not a political tool. 

Iha karta, sira konta katak, hahú iha tinan 2013 no to’o tinan 2017, sira hotu envolve iha maneira oioin ho dezenvolve kurríkulu ne’e, inklui hetan konsulta no kolabora hamutuk atu dezenvolve materiál oin-oin, inklui livru barak iha lian Tétun; nune’e sira hakfodak tebes atu rona derrepente kona-ba alterasaun sem konsulta ida.

In the letter, they share that, starting in 2013 and until 2017, they were involved in different ways with the curriculum development, including through a number of consultations and collaborations, and were thus very surprised to hear about these sudden changes without any consultation.

Sira hakerek: “Ami komprende katak pontu importante hosi kurríkulu en vigor agora mak valoriza no motiva alunu sira-nia partisipasaun no aprendizajen ativu, ne’ebé mak susar atu akontese se labarik sira la komprende profesór no la bele espresa an. Ami mós komprende katak inan-aman nia partisipasaun iha oan nia eskola importante tebes, ne’ebé susar atu hala’o se inan-aman sira la komprende saida mak sira-nia oan aprende. Peskiza barak halo tiha ona ne’ebé hatudu susesu ho métodu progresaun linguístiku nian iha rai barak no mós inklui iha Timor-Leste nia laran”.

They write, “We understand that the curriculum en vigor works to motivate and truly value student participation and active learning. This is hard to do if students are not able to understand their teachers or are unable to express themselves. We also understand the critical importance of parent participation in their children’s schooling, and the difficulty of making this participation happen if the parents do not understand what their children are learning. Many studies from various countries, including within Timor-Leste, have been done which point to the success of the language progression methodology.”

Ikus liu, ONG no indivíduu sira husu atu Prezidente la promulga alterasaun ba métodu hanorin bainhira Governu seidauk bele hatudu evidénsia sientífiku katak kurríkulu aprova iha 2015 sei la atinje edukasaun ho kualidade. Sira mós hato’o sira-nia disponibilidade atu hasoru SE Prezidente da Repúbliku hodi esplika sira-nia pozisaun kle’an liután.

Finally, the NGOs and individuals ask the President to not promulgate the changes to teaching methodology when the Government is not yet able to show scientific evidence that the curriculum passed to law in 2015 won’t achieve the goals of quality education. They also offered their availability to meet with the President to explain their position more clearly.  

Organizasaun sira-ne’ebé asina karta ba Prezidente inklui: Fokupers, Knua ba Labarik, Fundasaun Alola, ACbit, AJAR, La’o Hamutuk, Belun, Haburas, Permatil, MOFFE no Rede Feto Timor-Leste.

Organizations that signed the letter include: Fokupers, Knua ba Labarik, Alola Foundation, ACbit, AJAR, La’o Hamutuk, Belun, Haburas, Permatil, MOFFE and the Timor-Leste Women’s Network.


Download the statements below: 

English | Tetun | Portugese

Fransisca Alves Taolin