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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974

'To train teachers of Maori language for secondary schools'

'To train teachers of Maori language for secondary schools'

The aim of the 1972 petition was that Maori should be taught in all New Zealand schools, as an integral part of the syllabus beginning at primary school level. The course now arranged still makes no provision for training primary school teachers, and this leads us to believe that the intention is for Maori to be taught as a dead academic subject rather than as a living and spoken language. In fact, Maori is to be taught just like foreign languages such as Latin, German or French, and taught like them through the medium of English. If the teaching of Maori is to be restricted to the secondary schools as a foreign language or historical relic, then this undermines the whole intention of the exercise which, as we see it, is to introduce Maori language into schools as a medium of teaching and expression in its own right. For this to be achieved, Maori would have to be learnt as a natural process, beginning at the very start of primary school, in the way that English is taught now to Maori pupils. Apart from the blindness of many pakeha New Zealanders, there is no objective obstacle to the development of a bilingual education system, in which Maori is used as a teaching medium and not just as an incidental subject. The fact that the Education Department has chosen to establish a course only for secondary school teachers of Maori shows that they have rejected this concept, which would have required initial concentration on the training of fluent Maori speaking Maoris as primary school teachers.

Stick figure student and schoolmaster