[lg policy] Bill sparks debate on languages in schools

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 10:09:20 EST 2018


 Bill sparks debate on languages in schools
15 Jan, 2018 5:00am
5 minutes to read
Former education Minister Nikki Kaye’s launching a new bill, with the aim
of sparking a national debate on the issue.
[image: Simon Collins]
By: Simon Collins <http://www.nzherald.co.nz/author/simon-collins/>
Education reporter, NZ Herald
simon.collins at nzherald.co.nz

Should every Kiwi child learn a second language? The National Party is
saying 'yes' in a controversial new private member's bill.

National's education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye will release a draft bill today
that would require every primary and intermediate school to offer at least
one second language from a list of at least 10 "national priority
languages".

She wants to spark a national debate about how to change New Zealand's
monolingual culture. Only 19 per cent
<http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE8021#>
of New Zealanders in the 2013 Census could speak more than one language,
including only 4 per cent who spoke our second official language, Māori.

*READ MORE: Monolingual no more: kids lead the way
<http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11959402>*
Advertisement
Advertise with NZME. <http://advertising.nzme.co.nz/>

"The case for languages is really clear around cognitive ability," she said.

"We need to legislate for this, it's not an optional thing to provide that
access to languages, and that is a big shift as a country."

Her bill, which would give legal teeth to a National Party policy unveiled
in the party's election campaign opening
<http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11912050>
last August, would dramatically ramp up what is already a trend towards
offering more languages since a revised school curriculum
<http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum#collapsible13>
in 2007 said schools should be "working towards" offering languages in
Years 7 to 10.

The proportion of all primary and intermediate students learning a second
language, in addition to English and Māori, has more than doubled
<https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/schooling/student-numbers/subject-enrolment>
from 13 per cent in the year 2000 to 29 per cent in 2016.

At least some study of te reo Māori has also become almost universal,
increasing from 79 per cent of all primary and intermediate students in
2000 to 95 per cent.

However the number studying foreign languages in secondary schools has
dropped from 24 per cent of students in 2000 to 19 per cent.


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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