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Should Te Reo Be Compulsory in All NZ Schools?

The decision of introducing Te Reo in all NZ schools is the source of debate among many influential figures of New Zealand. Many of them have their thoughts about allowing Te Reo to be compulsory, or not to be made compulsory in NZ schools.

Should Te Reo Be Compulsory in NZ

Introduction of Te Reo in New  Zealand Schools

There are about 50,000 native speakers of the Te Reo Maori language, who can speak the language very well. The number of Te Reo speakers is sharply declining since the year 1945. The concerned citizens and politicians and language experts are once again trying to revive and conserve the Te Reo language. One of the key methods to revive this language is by introducing Te Reo in all the NZ schools.

Here, let us check out the entire argument about the matter- ‘Should Te Reo be compulsory in all NZ Schools?

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Origin of Te Reo Maori Language in New Zealand

The Te Reo language is also known as the Maori language in New Zealand. This language is spoken by the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand. It is spoken in the region of Polynesia.  Te Reo is legitimately known as one of the official languages of New Zealand. It gained recognition in the year 1987.

Te Reo does not have its particular alphabet or writing system. In 1814, the Christian missionaries from England came to New Zealand and learned to speak Maori. Thereafter, they have introduced the Latin alphabet in Te Reo.

Now the Maori people no longer speak Te Reo in their homes, unlike their ancestors. A generation of non–speaking Maori generation is slowly evolving in New Zealand. This is the reason behind the discussion of introducing Te Reo language to NZ school students.

Benefits of making Te Reo Compulsory in New Zealand Schools

There are various benefits to make the learning of Te Reo important in New Zealand’s school curriculum. These are:

Saving Maori Culture

The Maori culture will not survive in the absence of its lingual identity – Te Reo language. You can see that there are many Maori students in NZ. But then again none of them are connected to their own language, culture, and their own people.

Emancipation of Maori Speaking Students

Most of the Maori speaking students are not connected with their education. This is because Te Reo language is not developed. In this manner, the Maori students are left alone. If Te Reo is treated as any other normal NZ language, the Maori students will make active participation in class. They will attain education in their school. So, there is the emancipation of Maori- speaking students.

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Various Arguments Led by Nz Political Figures for Introducing Te Reo

As you know how Maori people will get benefits if Te Reo is made compulsory in schools. However, everyone does not agree with this decision. Some think that this language is of no use. While the other thinks that, if Te Reo is included in school, there will be less time to learn about other subjects.

There are various arguments and thoughts proposed by the NZ political figures regarding Te Reo’s introduction in NZ schools. The country’s Education Minister – Hekia Parata is though supports for the students to learn Te Reo. But is not in the favor to make it compulsory in NZ schools.

Trim Paora – Kapiti College’s Head of Maori Language believes in a different way. According to the thoughts of Paora, the only way to preserve Te Reo is to introduce all children in NZ schools to learn Te Reo.

Practical Solutions to Introduce This Ethnic NZ Language

The head of the Maori Language Department at the Kapiti College is proposing a simple and effective practical solution to introduce this ethnic NZ language. He proposed an ascendable method of teaching and learning Te Reo in schools.

The practical steps are as follows:

  • Each week teachers should teach 2 Maori words and 1 Maori phrase to the primary school students. The following week should be followed by a revision of the previous words and phrases taught. After revision, teachers should proceed in teaching new words and phrases to the school kids. In this manner, after 10 years these students will be able to know 800 words and 400 phrases of the Maori language.
  • Each day this teaching session will be for 5 minutes.
  • Trim also admits that teachers should make use of various proficiency levels of this language. There are many Te Reo language apps and programs which can be used easily by anyone.
  • This also involves the recruitment of many Maori language experts and teachers.

Global Effects to Preserve Various Indigenous Languages

There is a mission worldwide to introduce and preserve the indigenous language, just like the introduction of Te Reo in New Zealand. You can also see that the Welsh language is revived in 2000 by making it compulsory in Welsh schools. Similarly, in Ireland, the Irish was kept alive. Moreover, in Malaysia, one must know the Malay language in order to gain Malay citizenship.

Conclusion

If we believe to preserve the Te Reo Maori language, then we must motivate Maori and non–Maori people living in New Zealand to learn this language. The motivation to learn the language should be successfully implemented with good initiatives. This will increase the standard of Te Reo language. Thus, it is important that Te Reo must be compulsory in all the NZ schools.

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