4 August 2011
Government cuts threaten progress for Pasifika students
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says many schools and early childhood centres will find it hard to swallow government claims about the success of the Pasifika Education Plan.
The government says a mid-term review of the Pasifika Education Plan is showing positive results.
However NZEI says any progress is being threatened by cuts to bi-lingual resources for Pasifika students and funding cuts to those Pasifika language nests and centres which are trying to provide quality early childhood education.
“The government says there has been a significant increase in Pasifika participation in early childhood education but if you look at the figures, it’s clear that increase is largely down to the introduction of the 20 Hours Free ECE policy which this government can’t take any credit for,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.
“The reality now is that many Pasifika language nest and early childhood centres which are trying to provide quality education for Pasifika children are struggling to stay open due to government funding cuts.”
There have also been cuts to bi-lingual resources and programmes for Pasifika children in schools.
Ian Leckie says that doesn’t make sense as research shows that students who have strong literacy in their own language have greater success in literacy in English and bi-lingualism has been identified as a major contributor to the overall academic success of Pasifika students in New Zealand schools.
“Being strong and confident in their own language allows children to build foundations for their future learning and literacy and it’s important for this growing proportion of New Zealand students to know that their own languages and cultures are being respected.”
NZEI is supporting a Pacific Languages and Literacy petition being presented at parliament today. It identifies a greater need for bi-lingual programmes to help boost literacy and student academic achievement and keep Pasifika languages alive.