Report on the Need to Build Capacity in International Language and Intercultural Capabilities in New Zealand:
The Role of Tertiary Education (Japanese as an Illustration)

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark attributes missing out on the top UN job to, amongst other factors, her inability to ‘speak French or Spanish’. Debbie Corder, Junji Kawai and Annelies Roskvist in their report on the ‘Need to build capacity in international language and intercultural capabilities in New Zealand’, make a powerful case for a change in mind-set New Zealand-wide, away from the prevailing ‘English is all we need’ approach. Increased migration, and changes in technology and workforce skills and capability needs, are repositioning the role of language and intercultural capabilities across sectors, from trade and tourism, to investment, diplomacy, defence, science and technology. New career opportunities are opening up for those with interdisciplinary qualifications that include language and intercultural capabilities. There is evidence that employers across these sectors who do not have employees with these skills are already, and will increasingly, miss out on opportunities to competitors who do recognise the importance of languages and associated intercultural capabilities as essential 21st century skills. Corder, Kawai and Roskvist discuss the increasing recognition in Anglophone countries (the UK, USA and Australia) of the need to build capacity in language and intercultural capabilities. The report emphasises the need for tertiary education, the Government, industry and key stakeholders to work closely together to ensure graduates gain the necessary language and intercultural capabilities. It concludes that a key to successful outcomes relies on the development of a national language strategy across the education sectors. Sasakawa hopes that this comprehensive piece of work will be widely read and will inform the decisions of those responsible for our education system.

 

Naomi Collins

Co-ordinator

Sasakawa Programmes

 

Report on the Need to Build Capacity in International Language and Intercultural Capabilities in New Zealand: The Role of Tertiary Education (Japanese as an Illustration) (1,366 KB)

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