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‘To promote dialogue and action for the celebration of inclusivity and diversity especially through language.”

Letter to Minister from UNESCO New Zealand

Friday, 8 April, 2011 5:22 PM

Dear Minister,

You will know that the decision to “pause” the Pacific-language Tupu and Folauga educational series has disappointed a number of organisations and individuals who are active in the field of education for Pasifika children.
The National Commission for UNESCO has been lobbied on the issue, on the basis that UNESCO is committed – in New Zealand and elsewhere – to acknowledging and deriving value from cultural diversity. The National Commission, in particular, has been active in celebrating the importance of indigenous languages and plays a significant role in the annual Samoan Language Week. We have identified as one of our goals the promotion of “dialogue and action for the celebration of inclusivity and diversity especially through language.”
The Commission has discussed the matter over recent days. We acknowledge that, in times of financial stringency, hard decisions are needed, and that there are no “no-go” areas. We are persuaded, however, that the Tupu and Folauga series have been valuable aids to the education of Pasifika children in this country, and are in that sense comparable to the Kohanga Reo provision which has helped the educational development of Maori children.
The Commission has asked me to express to you our hope that, in the re-appraisal being undertaken of education for Pasifika children, the value of education in the indigenous language of students will again be recognised and provided for, and that this will allow for – as soon as budgetary considerations permit – the re-instatement of the Tupu and Folauga series. I should be glad to talk about these matters if you wish.

Yours sincerely,

Bryan Gould
Chairperson UNESCO New Zealand

Check out Page 2 for the Goal.
Here is the UNESCO link for the document with the goal.

Lesieli Tongati'o-Pule Ma'ata Pasifika, Senior Manager Pasifika Education at Ministry of Education, is also on the sub commission for UNESCO Education.

International Reading Association

IRA affirms the right of families to choose the language in which their children receive initial literacy instruction. Where that choice is not feasible, the right of the child to choose to be bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate, or monolingual, monocultural, and monoliterate must be honored and respected.

Awaiting a statement from the New Zealand Reading Association