Monday, March 21, 2011

[pima.nius] NZ: Pacific parents take ministry to court over suspension of language books

10:58 AM |

Title – 7345 NZ: Pacific parents take ministry to court over suspension of language books
Date – 22 March 2011
Byline – None
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Television New Zealand One News, 20/3/11
Copyright – TVNZ
Status – Unabridged
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AUCKLAND (TVNZ One News/Pacific Media Watch): A group of Pacific Islands parents are taking New Zealand's Ministry of Education to court over its decision to indefinitely suspend producing Pacific language books.

A coalition including schools, churches and community groups is behind court action that the coalition says is a breach of their children's human rights.

Parent Joanne Okesene said suspending production of the Tupu and Folaunga series is race-based discrimination.

"Discontinuing the books basically affects my children's rights to their cultural identity and their access to education," she said.

The Ministry of Education said it had paused production while it researched the best way to meet Pacific students' needs.

But documents obtained under the Official Information Act show key personnel within the Education Ministry arguing that the books and even learning a Pacific language as a first language is now "unnecessary".

Judy Taligalu McFall-McCaffery said the move proved the Ministry of Education was not in tune with what Pacific people wanted and needed.

"It's not a priority, it's not an interest at all for the ministry. To me it just signals we are going to make you English-speaking," she said.

Finlayson Park Primary principal Shirley Maihi said there was no reasoning behind the ministry's decision.

"My whole community, my board members, we are incensed...for a government to say 'that's it', just doesnt bear any sense of reasoning really," she said.

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