New Zealand Pacific language courses expand online

New Zealand’s oldest nonprofit Pacific community education provider has received NZ $ 3.9 million over four years to provide free online Pacific language courses.

Photo: Provided / Pasifika Education Center

The Auckland-based Pasifika Education Center (PEC) was established over 40 years ago as an organization to help Pacific people new to Aotearoa learn English and receive assistance in learning English. ‘installation.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said PEC is the ideal organization to deliver Pacific community language courses providing hands-on training to all New Zealanders, including useful training and having applications practices in various cultural contexts, regardless of whether people were fluent or not.

Executive Director Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali’i said students said accessing Pacific language classes was a barrier to their learning.

“There is a phenomenon in Auckland where people will not be traveling through the city and so if we had a class on a Monday some would say they can’t come on Monday but we don’t have the capacity to do it. another day and it’s too far to travel, ”she said.

“When the Pacific Peoples Ministry made a wonderful investment in us, it changed the landscape for us, so now we are able to offer classes outside of Auckland through online classes.”

Tuiloma said the ministry wanted to offer language courses regionally and with limited educational resources going digital was the best way to achieve those goals.

“We launched the courses three weeks ago and have seen a drastic uptake since we brought the courses online and it just shows us that people are in a different space.”

Director General of Pasifika Education Center, Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali'i

Director General of Pasifika Education Center, Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali’i
Photo: Provided / Pasifika Education Center

Tuiloma said the pandemic has eased the transition from learning in the physical space to online learning.

“Covid-19 has had an impact on the way people think about doing things online, like education. A lot of people have seen that in fact it is okay to do things at home,” a- she declared.

Tuiloma said data showed that children who were raised as bilingual speakers were more likely to have an academic advantage when they got to school.

“It was different when I was raised. My mother was actively encouraged not to teach us Samoan. They were told that if you want children to be successful you only teach them English.

“The data is now telling us that is wrong. The more languages ​​your children speak, the more likely they are to succeed and become more attentive to other cultures,” she said.

Minister Sio said the funding shows the government is committed to supporting the languages ​​and cultures of the Aotearoa Pacific, providing Pacific communities with the cultural base from which they can build their future.

“By working with partners like the Pasifika Education Center, we are providing our Pacific communities with the tools they need to develop their native languages ​​and cultural skills.

“In my travels across the country, more and more young people tell me that they value their Pacific languages ​​and cultures and recognize that Pacific bilingualism gives them a competitive advantage in their personal lives, including in their studies and the modern market.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb

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