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Those of us who can trace their roots back to Africa continue to suffer from institutionalised discrimination. The announcement this week that the government will introduce Kreol as an optional subject in primary schools to help the disadvantaged to read and write, adds insult to injury. Not only that, it goes against the government’s own 2005-2010 strategy for primary education.

This excellent document promised to eliminate the CPE examination, a “de-loading” of the academic content and the implementation of an holistic, 21st century curriculum. It recognised the challenge faced by children because the language of instruction (English) is not the language of the home (Kreol or Bhojpuri) but reinforced that English-based education opens up the greatest opportunities for our children as citizens of an interconnected world. One wonders if the current Minister of Education has even read it.

By introducing Kreol as an optional subject, the government is effectively giving up on our poorest children and crippling their future prospects. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds need extra assistance to allow them to catch up with their more privileged compatriots. If our elite children need extra tuition to grasp subjects, how much more do the less able? If education was once free in Mauritius, that is certainly not the case today. Until the resources are made available to enable every child to become fluent in English at an early age, there will be no justice in our education system. Moreover, Mauritius will not be able to boast of being a multi-lingual nation.

On the subject of justice for Mauritian Creoles, what ever happened to the police who murdered Kaya and Berger Agathe? In their memory, I take the liberty of rewriting one of their favourite songs:

Redemption Song – Original by Bob Marley

All parties yes they rob us –
Sell us out to the capitalists.
Having sold their souls to the devil
And World Bank economists.
But our voice it is made strong
By the internet from My-T.
We forward in this generation

Won’t you help to end
This grand corruption?
Let’s sing in unison:
Redemption Songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear of their private security,
If they threaten you report the crime.
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Each government promises justice
But it seems they’re the biggest crooks.

Won’t you help to end
This grand corruption?
Let’s sing in unison:
Redemption Songs!