How to Move Forward with Policy Recommendations
The first recommendation for the Government is that it must take a more hands on approach. Setting a clear expectation that Asia education is a vital area of study will send a strong message from the Government to schools. Government can also play a leadership role in Curriculum reforms. One way to break the status quo of only having two Asian languages available to students is for Government to assess what other trade languages it would like its prospective workforce to attain (e.g. Arabic, Korean, Bahasa Indonesian).
The second recommendation is to stimulate demand for Asia education. NCEA language courses usually commence at Year 11 or 12, while most advanced and specialised courses commence at Year 12 or 13. Consequently, the stimulation of interest and demand for Asia education must take place at the decisive stages of intermediate and Years 9 to 11. Awareness raising and community learning experiences must also be pursued to convince parents about the value of Asian language and cultural studies in contemporary NZ.
Thirdly, Government is recommended to stimulate supply. A way to incentivise schools to pursue Asian language and studies programmes is to offer them subsidies via contracts or grants. A long-term strategy would consist of an intensive training programme aimed at increasing the number of teachers that are either qualified to teach an Asian language or specialised in facilitating intercultural education. Promoting access is also a crucial issue. It is essential to give interested students in rural/remote areas the ability to pursue Asia education either via online learning modules or student exchanges.
The final recommendation is for the establishment of quality control mechanisms. An effective system could see monitoring functions being contracted to the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The Foundation could monitor school progress and make recommendations to Government based on its evaluations.