ERO paints bleak picture for Pacific early childhood language resources

A serious lack of Pacific language resources is putting Pasifika preschools at risk of being unable to deliver the early childhood curriculum, says Labour’s Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs, Su’a William Sio.

“A report by the Education Review Office notes the limited availability of, and difficulty in accessing, Pacific language resources to support children’s language, culture and identity remains an issue for Pacific early childhood services.

“It is less than encouraging, then, that the Government has seen fit to do away with a number of resources – such as the Tupu and Folauga publications.

“It has meant teachers, parents and communities have been forced to provide their own culturally relevant resources, often at a higher than necessary cost.

“A Parliamentary inquiry into Pacific languages in ECE highlighted the fact the National Government has removed Pacific language bilingual goals and focused on resources that encourage Pacific children to speak English, rather than supporting or encouraging the use of Pacific languages.

“For community efforts at preschool levels to be sustained through primary and secondary school more investment is needed.

“It is also time that National recognised that having children who are bilingual – and most Pacific children are – is a good thing.

“We should be supporting the development of quality educational resources that support them continuing to be so,” Su’a William Sio said.

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