3 Feb 2012

Educators back call for bi-lingual funding for Pacific students

10:11 pm on 3 February 2012

Educators are backing a call from the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs for more funding of bilingual education to lift the poor performance of Pacific students.

A briefing to the incoming minister, Hekia Parata, says the education system is failing to meet the needs of Pacific children and more bilingual education can help to turn that around.

The president of the national association of Samoan language teachers, Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin, says it is what Pacific communities have been saying for decades.

He says it is time for the government to pay attention to the value of Pacific languages in raising achievement.

He says international research clearly shows that being bilingual helps children succeed at school, socially and in later careers.

The Minister says more funding for teaching Pacific languages will be considered in a review of Pacific education.

Ms Parata says being able to learn and speak two languages is an important contributor to educational success.

But she says the government should only intervene in teaching languages when they are not learned first-hand at home and in the community.