Debate on compulsory te reo Māori welcome

Press Release – NZEI

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it’s good to see the issue of compulsory te reo Māori in schools being put squarely onto the political agenda and out for public debate. November 10th 2011 For Immediate Release

Debate on compulsory te reo Māori welcome

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it’s good to see the issue of compulsory te reo Māori in schools being put squarely onto the political agenda and out for public debate.

The Māori Party has released its education policy in which te reo Māori would be compulsory in schools in 2015. It also steps out a plan to increase the number of te reo Māori teachers to try and achieve that.

NZEI says compulsory te reo Māori in schools would add value to children’s education and to the country as a whole.

Last year a Waitangi Tribunal report warned that te reo Māori was reaching crisis point and urgent change was needed to save it from extinction.

NZEI Matua Takawaenga Laures Park acknowledges that there would be challenges around training enough te reo speakers but having all students learning te reo and having some degree of competency would ensure the vitality of the language.

“Māori is an official language of Aotearoa and it is shameful that only a relatively small number of people are fluent”.

Research shows that bi-lingualism can boost student achievement in other areas and makes other languages easier to learn.

“It is ignorant and offensive for people such as the ACT Party leader Don Brash to label te reo Māori as irrelevant and to somehow suggest it has no benefit to anyone but Māori”.

NZEI also welcomes the Māori Party pledge to initiate nationwide discussion about compulsory early childhood education.

However it is disappointed that the Party has failed to come out with any policy on the controversial National Standards, given their potential to crudely label students and unfairly compare schools and communities.

ENDS

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