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Tupu and Fōlauga “pause” will undermine learning

Tupu and Fōlauga Series “pause” will undermine English literacy

The national organisation for teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages TESOLANZ is concerned that the Ministry of Education’s decision to “pause” production of materials in Pacific Island languages will undermine the literacy of Pasifika children; in English as well as in their Pacific languages.

The Tupu Series is published in five Pacific languages as well as English, and the Fōlauga Series is in Sāmoan. The Ministry of Education has confirmed that publication of both series will “pause” at the end of 2010. This is because it believes that the focus of the materials does not align with literacy and numeracy outcomes which will enable the success of Pasifika children.

“International evidence shows that children learn literacy best in their first language, and that this then leads to better learning of English”, says TESOLANZ president Hilary Smith.

“It is surprising that the Ministry of Education equates literacy with literacy in English only, given the findings of its own commissioned research which has clearly shown the benefits of bilingualism for children’s literacy in English”, Dr Smith says.

TESOLANZ is urging the government to continue publication of materials in Pacific languages in order to support the literacy of Pasifika children.

ENDS

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