The Map of West Papua local languages - Jubi

Local Context, An Effort to Protect the Local Language in Papua

The Map of West Papua local languages - Jubi

The Map of West Papua local languages – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Introducing local languages as local content in school curriculum is considered a model to apply in order to protect the Papuan tongues. 

Anthropology lecturer at the University of Cenderawasih Gerdha K. Numberi argued that an education system involves  the content and medium of delivery associated with environment and cultural issues, as well as the local context, so it becomes an obligation for local students to study it.

According to her, the curriculum of local content is according to the Decree of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture No 0412/U/1987 dated 11 July 1987. Its implementation has been elaborated in the Decree of the Director General of Elementary and Primary School No 137/-C/kep/M/87 dated 7 October 1987. In the Curriculum 1994, the local content is a subject to be taught separately at school.

“For some reason, there are some considerations to apply this curriculum. At first, the local languages in Papua have different characteristic, both at the level of linguistic or its suprasegmental (something related to the phoneme such as the volume and vibrant that reflect a particular emotion,” she said.
The Head of Linguistic, Literature and Culture Institute of Papua and Papua Barat, Supriyanto Widodo said on Tuesday (13/11/2012) that there as many languages used in Humbold Bay, including the languages of Sentani, Nafri, Kayu Pulo, Skouw, Tobati-Enggros and Moso. Of the six local languages, Moso is the only local language that remains spoken, while 5 other languages are already dismissed.


The Law No. 24/2009 about flag, language and symbol of the state as well as national anthem stated about the protection of local languages. Gerdha K Numberi thought the extinction of local languages in Papua was occurred due to the information flow, technology, communication and migration.

These factors are very interested to be studied in order to find a model for handling various linguistic issues to remain exist and equal with other culture. “It is important that one extinct language not only has implication to the linguistic dimension but also implicate the cultural of the language owner,” he said.

The interests of students as well as the availability of qualified teaching, the teaching is not only about to have the linguistic ability, but also the understanding on the regional culture.

Papua cultural activist, Andi Tagihuma said the languages in Papua and Papua Barat are currently on the extinction. Therefore the Education offices in the entire Papua must pay attention in handling the curriculum of local content at school. “Without protection and maintaining the value, we would become a nation without direction. Just like a kite flying in the wind,” said Andi. (*/rom)

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