1. Should we not be making mandarin or computer coding compulsory? It will be more useful?

1. Should we not be making mandarin or computer coding compulsory? It will be more useful?

Answer

First point is the the very young find it incredibly easy to be multi-lingual. I have a 3 year old granddaughter who is already fluent in English and Mandarin. I met another parent this weekend whose 8 year old has 3 languages. Second point is that language is a lot more than a financial meal ticket and the more your bi-lingualism is just a natural aspect of your home environment the more adept you are at expressing all the values and cultural mores that your languages have terms for. New Zealand has a bicultural heritage, strong identification with that is part of being a New Zealander. For some their appreciation of and pride in our unique culture starts and stops at the haka. But that is not enough if both tangatawhenua and tau iwi are to honour the treaty and have a duty of care to each other’s culture. As Mandela said - “talk to a man in a language he understands and it goes to his head, talk in his language and it goes to his heart”. We are one citizenry, we have two cultures that we are proud to nurture and see flourish. Language is the key to that door.