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Record number of enrolments for Pacific language classes

01 December 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Mabel Muller -

Learning Pacific languages is in high demand as language classes in Auckland hit a record number of enrolments.

Vagahau Niue class at the Pasifika Education Centre. Photo/ Facebook - Pasifika Education Centre.

Almost 2000 students enrolled at the Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) this year, up from 800 in 2015. 

The most enrolments have been in the Cook Island and Samoan language classes and CEO Christine Nurminen says it's a good sign for the preservation of Pacific culture.

"We're seeing more of our people who feel confident to come forward," she says. "They want to learn, they want to engage."

PEC delivers language classes for Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Cook Islands and Niuean and also piloted a Rotuman class this year. 

Nurminen says she's seeing a new resurgence in learning Pacific languages.

"Our communities are wanting more access," she says. "Pacific language and culture in Aotearoa, there's this new resurgence on how important it is, how cool it is and actually it's our measina. It's our treasure, our koloa, it belongs to us."

Christine Nurminen. Photo/ PRN. 

While PEC is thriving with enrolment numbers, another Pacific education provider is preparing to close down due to a decline in enrolments. 

Auckland's BEST Pacific Institute of Education has lost its funding for the next year because of a drop in student numbers, resulting in the loss of jobs for 150 staff. 

Nurminen says BEST Pacific's unfortunate funding cut serves as timely reminder to all Pacific education providers.

"That's a healthy reminder for us and for everybody else who is delivering services for our Pacific community," she says. "That we have to put our best foot forward. We have to be mindful that when we deliver we have to deliver to the best of our abilities."

Tags: education,