|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Giving children the resources to learn a second language is something most parents applaud, yet opportunities for Pasifika children are being stymied by the National-led Government, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.
“Not many would argue that speaking another language isn't good for a child’s education.
“Yet Pasifika children have today been given a short-shrift by National members of Parliament’s Education & Science Select Committee when they voted down a request to look into the academic benefits of Pacific Bilingual education.
“We are a Pacific nation. The number of Pasifika children in our schools increased 33 per cent over the past decade, and yet this government refuses see the benefits of Pacific bilingual education.
“We teach Japanese, Spanish and French in our schools, yet place less importance on Pacific languages.
“Labour’s inquiry sought to establish the facts by looking to measures which could significantly raise Pacific academic achievement.
“The Government’s refusal to give this issue a fair hearing is telling. The alternative- an inquiry into the Pacific language in early childhood education – will go ahead instead with Labour’s support, but is much too narrow in scope.
“I encourage parents, teachers and researchers who feel strongly about Pacific bilingual education to make a submission to the committee on the subject. Public submissions will close on 25 June.
“Labour has a comprehensive education policy for Pasifika students, which includes restoring the Pacifika Education Plan (PEP) and the Tupu and Folauga educational resources.
“The Government must invest in the futures of Pacific people in Aotearoa. Bilingualism is a strength that should be embraced and not discouraged,” Su’a William Sio said.