Topics: Education, Politics

Reo experts begin work on govt’s Māori education programmes

By Talisa Kupenga

A one-off think tank between Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis and 12 Māori Language experts has taken place as part of government’s wider policy to make te reo universally available by 2025. 

However, Sir Timoti Karetu says this goal is far-fetched.

Karetu says teachers were the key to the success or failure of the programmes.

"If there are no teachers, if we aren't supporting...teachers, and if they can't find the teachers both programmes will fail."

Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis says teachers who have potential but might lack confidence to teach in Māori would be targeted.

"They're in mainstream, they're everywhere.  I want them to have support so they aren't belittled or put-down for not knowing enough reo Māori.  We need to find a way to support them to be confident in providing a place to teach in Māori in the classroom."

Te Ahu o te reo Māori, which aims to support teachers to deliver te reo in the classroom, secured $12.5mil in this year’s budget. 

Te Kawa Matakura, a pilot programme targeting youth who excel in mātauranga Māori, banked nearly $2.8mil.

The programmes were the start of the government's plan to make te reo Māori universally available in schools by 2025.  Sir Karetu says that's unlikely.

"Not by then, unless the government really commits to and believes in what it is trying to achieve here.  But right now I doubt it will happen."

The minister says it can be done.

"This is no easy feat but it's a start.  We want all teachers to be confident in having te reo in their classrooms by 2025."

The group's recommendations would be compiled and the programmes will begin in 2020.