On Compulsory Te Reo Education

Regarding the NZ Greens support for the teaching of Te Reo in our schools, and some of the backlash/concern around it, let’s not forget that many subjects are compulsory in school.

English, maths, science to a certain level, there’s nothing new about having required subjects. It’s a political choice reflecting out values and commitments as a society in what we choose to compel to be taught.

We want a literate population. We therefore teach reading and writing (English) we want a population with an understanding of maths, we teach it.

No one asks “why must my child be forced to learn these subjects?” Even if there’s some disagreement about when, I know Steiner education starts these later, but we compel these subjects because we as a society value these things being widely known and understood.

Choosing as a society to make Te Reo a subject for children to learn has many benefits for the children, but is also a clear expression of a commitment to Te Tiriti. It’s also the beginning of rectifying a wrong, the beating of children who spoke Te Reo in schools.

The crowns compulsory primary education system was almost successful at eradicating Te Reo from an entire generation. It can now be used to help bring it back.

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