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Bilingual language exclusion won’t go unnoticed

22 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Bilingual language exclusion won’t go unnoticed

Education Minister Hekia Parata has turned a blind eye to the Pacific community’s aspirations for bilingual education, says Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.

That’s been borne home today with the release of her Pasifika Education Plan, which mentions nothing at all about resourcing for Pacific bilingual education.

“As a Te Reo speaker, Hekia Parata should understand the importance of our Māori and Pacific students learning their heritage language. Her exclusion of bilingual education resources from the Pacific Education Plan for another three years suggests otherwise.

“Labour’s goals for Pacific bilingual education were scrapped by National in 2008. The community put up a fight and petitioned Parliament, but to no avail.

“The latest plan from the Ministry seems to focus heavily on measurement, but fails to show the actual progress made, if any, for Pacific students.

“The Minister says the ‘Implementation Plan’ – for the Pacific Education Plan- will outline what resources are available to students, but not until January. In the interim there is no indication of what is happening with Tupu and Folauga publications - now or in the long term.

“Bilingualism should be nurtured and has the potential to be one of our Pacific students’ greatest strengths.

“There is a wealth of evidence that supports the value of Pacific bilingual language education. Today’s report ignores that and is the weaker for it.

“The Pacific community have a right to feel let down by the Minister. Bilingual language education should be reinstated and prioritised,” Su’a William Sio said.


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