During the 2017 – 2020 term Hon. Nikki Kaye had a Bill drawn from the ballot. It was called: Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill.
“A bill that would have required all primary and intermediate schools to offer second language tuition from among 10 priority languages has been torpedoed by Labour despite the party originally supporting the bill.
The Labour-led parliamentary committee examining the bill, originally proposed by ex-National MP Nikki Kaye, oppose making 10 languages a priority. It says that te reo Māori and sign language should be the priority languages because they are both official languages.”
That KILL BILL article was published on the 3rd of June.
Here is what the Minister for Pacific Peoples (Sio) said on the 8th of June:
“If you look to Europe, some European countries have policies where students have the right to be taught in the language of their choosing.
You look at Europe and the way they value languages. They are some of the wealthiest countries. In Asia, they recognise bilingualism and multilingualism as a competitive edge in the economy. So, for us, this is so fundamental.”
Clearly, he either disagrees with his Prime Minister, Minister of Education and Labour’s Maori caucus … or has missed the latest memo. His comment is highly accurate though – for improving our academics – language learning is imperative. His party has been stupid and very short-sighted.
Unfortunately for Sio his accuracy stopped there as he showed the classic “soft prejudice of low expectations”. He praised Pacific youth as being:
“a new generation that are proudly brown, beautiful, brainy, bi-lingual, bi-cultural and bold.”
They could be that. We are seeing exactly that within our Villa Education Trust schools. But praising a NZ wide situation where Pacific students are 30% behind UE for Asian students in Year 13 cohorts and 47% behind Asian students at UE for school leavers can only mean he thinks that situation is not only acceptable but a great achievement!
Neither group has “white privilege” so surely our Minister for Pacific Peoples NEEDS to have much higher hopes, expectations and aspirations for the youth under his oversight?