With the growing Pacific population and the rise of technology, the Government must support bilingualism in New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Education Spokesperson Jenny Salesa.
“This is crucial after a plea from parents of Auckland’s A’oga Fa’a Samoa early childhood centre for more online Samoan language resources and tools.
“The Government has stripped resources for Pacific languages like the Tupu series. This has made it more challenging for bilingual education and put further pressure on already overburdened community resources.
“There are real benefits associated with learning more than one language. However there are not enough resources, both print and online, to support the learning of our Pacific languages. This is particularly important for New Zealand-born Pasifika.
“With the digital age, the Ministry should not only be looking at digitising bilingual resources but they should also be looking at the role that digital devices will have in our children’s learning.
“What this also means is that we need to do a better job at improving access to technology and digital devices for all students regardless of where they live or school decile rating as well as ensuring we are better using technology such as free online learning resources.
“Labour’s Education and Training Discussion Paper as part of the Future of Work Commission states that while schools are increasingly equipping students with digital devices and making better use of technology in the classroom, more progress could be made.
“We have to keep exploring avenues for technology to be part of the curriculum and I believe online resources fostering Pacific bilingualism is a great way to start.
“This is where investment from the Ministry of Education is crucial especially in our low decile schools,“ says Jenny Salesa.