Is English enough in the Asian Century?
Asia New Zealand Foundation asks: Is English enough in the Asian Century?
Thursday 19 September 2013, 5.30pm
– 7pm, with refreshments to
Where: Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts (Te Whare Tapere Iti), Gate 2B, Knighton Road, University of Waikato, Hamilton
As countries across the world explore ways to boost Asian languages, the Asia New Zealand Foundation is holding a public forum to discuss state of language learning in New Zealand.
The forum - “Is English enough in the Asian Century?”- will take place from 5.30pm to 7pm on Thursday, September 19 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in Hamilton.
The Foundation has chosen Hamilton as the
location for the forum because it is keen to extend its
networks in the Waikato. The forum will be moderated by
Chris Laidlaw, well-known for his Sunday morning radio show
on Radio New Zealand National. Six panellists from the
education and business sectors will offer a variety of
Professor Stephen May, Deputy Dean, Research, Faculty of Education and Professor, Te Puna Wānanga, School of Māori Education, the University of Auckland.
Jeff Johnstone, Director Education, Asia New Zealand Foundation
Ian Meadows, Business Development Manager, Security, Gallagher Group
Laytee George, Educational Relationships Co-ordinator – Schools at Waiariki Institute of Technology, Rotorua
Kurt Mullane, Director, Asia Education Foundation (AEF), The Asialink Centre, University of Melbourne
William Flavell, Head of Māori Studies at Rutherford College, Auckland
A report published by the Royal Society of New Zealand – Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand 1 – earlier this year highlighted New Zealand’s “superdiversity”, with more than 160 languages spoken. The report noted that research has shown learning another language at school improves performance across the curriculum. But according to Statistics New Zealand2, most New Zealanders can hold a conversation in only one language – and overwhelmingly, that language is English.
Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director John McKinnon hopes the forum will help raise interest in and awareness of the benefits of speaking more than one language.
“Speaking two or more languages has numerous social and educational benefits and breaks down barriers between cultures and countries. New Zealand needs more language learning across the board.”
He says the global dominance of English means New Zealanders have taken it for granted that there is no need to be able to speak another language. But as global attention shifts towards Asia, countries around the world – from Australia to Sweden - have been reassessing their language education policies.
“The Foundation is not arguing that every child in New Zealand should be made to learn an Asian language, but we do feel that Asian languages should be more widely taught. This is important for New Zealand’s economic, political and cultural interests.”
The Asia New Zealand Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to building New Zealand’s links with Asia through a range of programmes, including business, culture, education, media, research and a Young Leaders Network.
The Foundation is grateful to the University of Waikato for hosting the event, and to Professor Richard Le Heron, who will represent the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Language learning statistics
Source: July 2012 school roll returns, Ministry of Education. Full national statistics are available here: http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/international/students-international-learning2