Language And Politics Of Timor Leste Curriculum : Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education Essay

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Language and politics in Timor-Leste curriculum:
Mother tongue-based multilingual education

Francelino M. P. Ximenes

Timor-Leste is a tiny island situated in the maritime Southeast Asia between two giant countries, Australia and Indonesia. Timor-Leste has adopted exogenous languages (Portuguese, Indonesian and English) and autochthonous languages (Tetum and other vernaculars) as major spoken languages in the territory. In 2010, this new country conducted its second household census which reported that Timor-Leste has 32 local languages across the territory which is known as multilingualism and plurilingualism country with polyglot people. The Timor-Leste Constitution, section 13 states that the national language of Timor-Leste is Tetum while official languages are Portuguese and Tetum which is co-jointly applied. Furthermore, section 159 of the Constitution declares English and Bahasa Indonesia as Timor-Leste’s working languages (Constituent Assembly, 2001). Timor-Leste has been using official language in all educational levels for a decade after the restoration of Independence Day by the United Nations on 20 May, 2002. However, Timor-Leste is currently adopting vernacular languages to coexist with official languages (Portuguese and Tetum) as the medium of instruction. The use of these languages as the medium of instruction in Timor-Leste pre-primary and primary schools is interesting me to know how the people of Timor-Leste’s opinions, perceptions, views and thought and

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