The headline on a Herald item about Maori Party education policy is a tad misleading.
Maori Party wants te reo available to all
So what’s new?
Te reo – so far as Alf knows – is available to all now.
The demand to learn it no doubt is not as great as the Maori Party would like.
Too bad. The fact is, if you want to learn it, you can do so. There is no prohibition on the matter.
The fact that not too many people are lining up for te reo lessons, of course, is instructive about what Kiwis want and don’t want.
Even fewer are lining up to learn Urdu.
The Maori Party wants much much more than the general availability of te reo classes for those who want to learn it.
The buggers are strong on forcing people to behave as they want them to behave.
And so –
The Maori Party wants to make te reo “compulsorily available” in schools by 2015 but students wouldn’t be compelled to take the subject.
Co-leader Tariana Turia and Te Tai Tokerau hopeful Waihoroi Shortland revealed the party’s education policies at Auckland’s Hato Petera College yesterday.
Mr Shortland said the policy wouldn’t just tell schools they had to be able to teach te reo and then leave them to figure out how. Instead, the party proposed adapting the Ataarangi programme founded by the late Dame Katerina Mataira and make it available to schools.
It would also be underpinned by a three-year recruitment drive for 200 Maori teachers who would be bonded in exchange for scholarships.
A nice little employment opportunity for Maori speakers.
Mr Shortland said it was important to recognise that 95 per cent of Maori children were taught in mainstream educational institutions. This programme could help students become competent by the time they left primary school.
“We want to look at a programme which achieves our aspiration of a wider uptake [of te reo Maori] by the student body. We’ve preached the compulsory thing for years and really haven’t thought too hard about how we’re going to implement it …
“I think this is a practical solution,” he said.
The Education Ministry told the Herald New Zealand had no compulsory subjects in the curriculum.
But it has eight learning areas – English, the arts, health and physical education, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, technology – of which seven have to be offered to all students in years 1 to 10.
Alf has bridled at compulsion since military training was a compulsory matter.
He therefore has overcome a struggle with himself to say he somewhat agrees with Labour’s Kelvin Davis.
Davis is a former school principal who is also standing in Tai Tokerau.
He supports the Maori Party idea.
“I actually think it’s a good idea to be honest. I would love every child in New Zealand to want to speak Maori … but I think if there were compulsion there’d be a massive backlash by unenlightened New Zealanders.”
If Alf heard correctly, a bloke called Terry Dunleavy popped up on Radio NZ this morning to enthuse about the compulsion being promoted by the Maori Party.
It was a great idea no matter what it costs, he said.
It turns out this Dunleavy bugger is in his 80s, and so may reasonably expect not to remain on this earth as a taxpayer for too much longer.
Hence he can afford to be indifferent to the cost.
Alf is much more fiscally sensitive and says cost can not be ignored.
But much more important, he strongly disapproves of compulsion (with some exemptions, such as compulsory stopping at comupulsory stop signs.