Language fund spells good news for business
Date Added: 27 Aug 2014 from BusinessNZ
Today's announcement to increase support for Asian languages in schools will be welcomed by exporters and the business community, says ExportNZ.
The fund will provide $10 million to be invested in language programmes over five years, with a long-term goal of all students becoming proficient in a second language and a stronger focus on learning Mandarin.
ExportNZ Executive Director Catherine Beard says it's a good start on drawing attention to the significance of Asian languages and culture to New Zealand's future.
"Trade with Asia is increasingly important to our economic performance, with China now our number one trading partner."
"The funding increase for Asian languages will result in a greater understanding of Asian cultures, which is very good for business."
Ms Beard says the number of Asian language learning opportunities for students and communities could be boosted through The Network for Learning, better use of available technology, and more collaboration between schools. She says access to learning opportunities would also be improved by having more flexible accessto skilled people who are not registered as teachers but do have the language expertise and knowledge for language learning.
"Reducing barriers to people proficient in Asian languages getting involved in the teaching and learning with the support of fully trained teachers would be a good way to grow language learning opportunities."
Other areas of learning must also be prioritised, says Ms Beard.
"While it is important to increase access to Asian languages in schools, we also need to make sure all young people leave school proficient in critical skills like literacy and numeracy, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration."
Contact Catherine Beard 04 496 6560 or Kathy Riley 027 216 3743