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Niuafo’ou & Tongan language course begins at USP

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 05/02/2019

The University of the South Pacific yesterday began offering its first program in the Tongan and Niuafo’ou language. The program is known as Tonga and Niuafo’ou One and is the first course in the University of the National Languages of Pacific countries.

The course co-ordinator, Heti Veikune says, there are 6 courses altogether under the Tonga and Niuafo’ou One Program where one will be offered every semester and during the summer flexi schools.

The first course is being taught by Dr. Melenaite Taumoefolau and Professor Akihisa Tsukamoto.

This is one of the experiences that USP was committed to and not just in recent times, but beginning from 2012 when it was committed to help the Ministry of Education and Training advanced its plan to promote, rejuvenate and bring back to life the Niuafo’ou language – not that it is dead but that it is weakening because of the many influences of development on the Tongan language and any other language that cause changes to other languages so the University started off with its poetry competitions in the Niuafo’ou language.

She also elaborates on the reason why this program was initiated in the University and its significance.

The importance of this course is the opportunity – the opportunity to talanoa about this important resource that we have – this vehicle that we use is one of the only vehicle that we have to tell other people who we are, the things that we value and the things that are important to us – we tell people about us through our language and so this is the opportunity. We do all speak Tongan and most people here in Tonga speak Tongan but it’s very important to have a good grounding and a knowledge of a language – our language

More than 10 students so far have registered for the course and Veikune hopes more students will be able to join by the end of this week.

The University works in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training for scholarship opportunities for 10 teachers/officers with financial assistance from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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