Paulina Quintao – The Timor-Leste National Youth Council (CNJTL) considers language ability as one of the barriers impeding young Timorese access to opportunities offered in neighbouring countries with access to scholarships and jobs.
The President of CNJTL, Maria Magno said language is a big obstacle and the reality is most young people are motivated and willing to study and work overseas but language makes it difficult for them to complete their application process.
"With adequate language ability, we can achieve our goals because it would no longer be a barrier for us to be able to access opportunities to achieve what we want," she said at her office in Palapaso, Dili. To address this situation, CNJTL provides free Portuguese and English courses to young Timorese.
She said while some young people can get some professional experience working for non-government organizations voluntarily, many other are not able to do this and end getting involved in conflict.
She acknowledged that most young people who have been able to access an opportunity to study and work outside the country must work hard to develop adequate language ability.
Meanwhile, Cesarino Goncalves a youth from Liquica municipality said many young people are not trying hard enough to improve themselves by attending Portuguese and English courses.
He said that nowadays, there are many opportunities to study overseas but it depends on the young people to get ready in terms of language proficiency to be able to compete for these opportunities.
"Language is the way to find the sciences in the world and makes it easier to get a job, it is there very important for everyone especially the youth to attend any course in Portuguese and English," he said.
He also urged the government to develop Portuguese language in schools because the official languages are Tetum and Portuguese according to the constitution of RDTL.