Funding boost helps Pasifika Education Centre expand its online reach in Pacific language courses
The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio spoke at the opening of the new premises for the Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) in Manukau this morning and announced a $3.9 million allocation over four years, that will enable PEC to offer free community Pacific language courses including online platforms and digital learning modules.
“This is a significant investment by the Government in support of Pacific languages and reflects our commitment to Pacific wellbeing, to ensure that Pacific people in New Zealand can learn and use their languages at home, at work and in our communities,” says Aupito William Sio.
“In 2018, I released the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou report at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Vision Summit, which highlighted, ‘thriving Pacific languages and cultures’ as a key goal that Pacific peoples of Aotearoa had themselves identified as vital to their general wellbeing and identity.
“The Government’s focus in 2019 on the Wellbeing for all New Zealanders, meant we also recognised the role that languages and cultures play in the wellbeing and success of Pacific Peoples. This has led to a significant investment in Pacific languages with the allocation of $20 million to the Ministry for work that includes the establishment of a Pacific Language Unit and working in partnership with the wider Pacific communities of Aotearoa to ensure Pacific languages can thrive through future generations.
“PEC is the ideal organisation to deliver community Pacific language courses that provide practical hands-on training to all New Zealanders, including training that’s useful and has practical applications in our diverse cultural settings, irrespective if people speak fluently or not.
PEC is New Zealand’s oldest not-for-profit, Pacific community-based education provider, that was established more than forty years ago, as an organisation to support Pacific peoples new to Aotearoa New Zealand to learn English and receive settlement support.
“It’s ironic but PEC has come full circle, from its original focus on preparing Pacific migrants to navigate their way through the industrial society of the times, to now leading the way in helping Pacific peoples who call Aotearoa their home, to navigating the digital economy by using their heritage languages and cultural values as their guide.
“This Government is committed to supporting the languages and cultures of Pacific Aotearoa, providing our Pacific communities with the cultural foundation from which they can build their future. By working with partners like the Pasifika Education Centre, we are providing our Pacific communities with the tools they need to grow their first languages and cultural skills.
“We know that embracing our Pacific cultures and languages will not hold us back, rather they will propel us forward, giving us the ability to determine and lead our futures with the wisdom and understanding of our cultural past.
“When PEC completes the rollout of its online platforms, I expect we’ll see more people wanting to go online to more fully embrace learning and becoming Pacific bilingual speakers.
“In my travels around the country, more and more young people tell me they value their Pacific languages and cultures and recognise that Pacific bilingualism gives them a competitive edge in their personal life, including in their educational pursuit and in the modern market place,” says Aupito William Sio.