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Languages advocates back Nikki Kaye’s languages bill

Languages advocates call for MPs to send Nikki Kaye’s languages bill for public submission


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

6 September 2018

Auckland languages advocates are calling on MPs from all parties to send Nikki Kaye’s private member’s bill on languages in education to a select committee for wide public debate.

The Auckland Central MP’s Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill was one of four drawn from the ballot at Parliament today to go for their first reading.

The Auckland Languages Strategy Working Group says New Zealand needs a proper discussion about the value of languages in education, and particularly the value of te reo Māori.

Convenor Susan Warren says the ballot is also “awesome timing” as the group has just sent the Government a plan outlining how to strengthen languages in education over the next 15 years.

The Languages in Education Strategy 2019-2033 sets out steps and resourcing for a multilingual Aotearoa New Zealand where:

• By 2020, all Year 1 students are learning te reo Māori in schools

• By 2033 all high school graduates will be able to converse in more than one language

Ms Warren says the 15-year plan aims to show politicians and policymakers what an achievable national strategy for languages education in schools could look like.

“We show that it is possible to support schools to offer a wide range of languages that are locally relevant and in demand, without breaking the bank,” Ms Warren says.

“A notable difference is that our strategy talks about using the languages that children come to school with as well as learning other people’s languages.

“We show that we can do more than limit it to just a few so-called priority languages.”

One of the lead authors Morgan Patterson says learning languages is one of eight essential areas of the New Zealand Curriculum.

“So knowing that a bill focusing on language learning has been drawn which gives impetus to students at primary and intermediate schools in Aotearoa growing their intercultural competence is fantastic,” Ms Patterson says.

“This would be the beginning of what New Zealand needs to ensure that our young people are progressing through and leaving school as confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners.”

Co-author Jeff Johnstone says the working group welcomes the bill as an opportunity for a nationwide discussion about the importance of languages.


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