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Government Ducks On Compulsory Te Reo

Government Ducks On Compulsory Te Reo

ACT New Zealand Associate Education Spokesman Stephen Franks today accused Associate Education Minister Marian Hobbs of giving a long flannel answer to his simple question about languages that could satisfy a new curriculum requirement.

"I simply asked if the Minister would `undertake that acquiring a second language in the curriculum doesn't mean compulsory Maori language classes for the thousands of children in schools that can't offer more than Maori, and what assurance can she give that this is more than a disguise for sneaking in mandatory Maori classes for the children in those hundreds of schools'," Mr Franks said.

"Ms Hobbs referred to Niuean, Spanish, Japanese and a host of other languages that only a tiny proportion of primary teachers could teach, but she gave no answer to the question.

"It has long been on the activists' agenda to force pakeha and Maori to learn te reo. Labour does not dare announce such a policy directly - instead, the Prime Minister enthuses about the benefits of multi-lingualism, to try to create momentum that looks race neutral.

"They hope the real agenda will emerge later, when it is suddenly discovered - surprise, surprise - that years of teachers' training college, race preference and positive discrimination have left few primary school teachers with teachable skills in any language but Maori.

"ACT will blow the whistle on this. As in every other facet of education, we believe in parent choice. Of course Maori should be available to those who want it, but no scheme for compulsion should be allowed to slide in under this guise," Mr Franks said.

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