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New Zealand China Council

Languages policy a smart investment: New Zealand China Council

August 28, 2017

The New Zealand China Council welcomes the announcement of a new initiative ensuring all primary age students will have access to learning a second language.

Chairman Sir Don McKinnon says the announcement of an additional $160 million to promote learning of priority languages is a smart investment in New Zealand’s future workforce.

“Communicating in a second language, such as Chinese, will give young Kiwis a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, and offer good employment opportunities in New Zealand and overseas.

“There’s currently a huge shortage of trained Chinese language teachers, so the announcement of new funding to address this barrier is welcome news,” Mr McKinnon says.

Ministry of Education figures show more than 50,000 primary students are currently engaged in Chinese language learning, however this number drops to fewer than 5,000 at secondary level.

“It’s important that more students are exposed to Chinese learning at primary schools and are encouraged to continue studying at secondary and tertiary level.

“Learning any new language is something Kiwis will benefit from. This announcement sets the foundation for New Zealand to engage with China, as well as other countries and cultures in the coming decades,” Mr McKinnon says.

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