18 Dec 2013

Report seen as death sentence for some Pacific languages

5:55 am on 18 December 2013

The outcome of a Parliamentary inquiry into Pacific languages in early childhood education is being called a death sentence for some languages and a blow to Pasifika achievement.

A majority report by the Education and Science Select Committee says the Government has no legal obligation to promote Pacific languages or Pacific-language education.

Auckland University lecturer John McCaffery says the report ignores all the submissions and evidence that Pasifika communities cannot keep their languages alive without support.

Victoria University head of Samoan studies Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin says the report also ignores overwhelming evidence that bilingual education can lift classroom achievement.

The Government says it will respond to the report early next year.

Labour and the Greens issued dissenting minority views, and Mr Hunkin said a change in Government is now the main hope for Pacific languages.