Rethinking New Zealand’s Approach to Asia Education

The need for an Asia-savvy population has never been greater. Our prosperity and future depends on Asia, yet New Zealanders generally lack the knowledge, cultural familiarity or language proficiency to enter the Asian market. Our foreign policy points towards greater integration with the Asian regional framework, yet our youth know little about the giant continent that lies above Australia. At home, Asians are the fastest growing portion of the population and may reach numerical parity with Maori by 2026, yet Asian culture remains exotic and misunderstood.

The role of Asia education in our secondary schools should not only be to increase the number of New Zealanders who can communicate fluently in an Asian language, but also empower our youth with a diversified worldview and the skills to connect with peoples from different cultures.

The purpose of this study is to offer the Ministry of Education, education policy makers, principals and schools an insight into the problems encountered in the existing education system and how Government could play a role in mitigating the problem.

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