Massey welcomes new funding for Asian languages


Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

An announcement that the Government will invest $10 million over five years to increase the provision of Asian language teaching in schools has been welcomed by Massey University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley says Education Minister Hekia Parata’s announcement yesterday is important in preparing young New Zealanders to be leaders in the new global economy.

“Given the need for New Zealand to trade into non-English speaking countries, the ability to speak a range of languages has become a priority,” he said.

“The history of New Zealand in providing language teaching in schools is patchy, partly because it hasn’t been seen as a priority and partly because New Zealanders don’t have a strong history of multilingualism in their own homes and communities. That’s now changing, with significant non-English immigrant communities. But much more needs to be done.”

Ms Parata’s statement says the money will be used to create a contestable fund where schools can apply for funding to establish new Mandarin, Japanese or Korean language programmes, or expand or enhance existing Asian language programmes.

Professor Spoonley says his college’s School of Humanities – which offers Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and French language programmes at its Manawatū and Albany campuses, and by distance learning – is keen to work both with the Government and with schools to encourage languages as an important part of the curriculum with both personal and national benefits.

Read the Minister’s statement here.

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