Commencing on the 11th of February, the Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) will roll out a new range of compact and targeted Pacific language classes to suit the busy lives and interests of their adult learners, says Chief Executive Officer Christine Nurminen.
Where previously all five Pacific language classes were delivered once a week all year round, the beginner class is now a compact eight-week introduction to the basics of language; and the intermediate level is a 20-week class focussed on both conversation and culture. The popular advanced Samoan class will continue to focus on oratory skills, and be the only class that will run for 40 weeks.
“To bridge the gap between the basic and intermediate class, a new ten-week conversational class for each of the five Pacific language programmes has been added to the mix,” says Christine.
“Our learners want more of a focus on conversational skills in real life situations so they can have basic conversations with family and friends.”
To compliment language skills, a new feature of language classes includes tutors sharing aspects of cultural practices.
“Our tutors field many questions from learners about cultural practices and understanding one’s role in various settings. This would normally be unpacked in the latter part of the intermediate class or in the case of the Samoan programme – in the advanced class.”
“Pacific peoples share common words and practices. However there are rare and sacred parts of our cultural practices that make each Pacific nation uniquely beautiful, and we are going do more in our classes to encourage our learners to explore this.”
For a decade, the PEC has delivered free community Pacific language classes to a wide range of learners.
“Last year, over 350 adult learners ranging in age from 16 -73 years of age enrolled in a PEC Pacific language class. Of those enrolled, 55% were of Samoan ethnicity.”
“While almost all students opted to learn their native language, there is also a small but growing proportion of learners choosing to learn another Pacific language,” says Christine.
“This is reflective of the diverse make up of Pacific families in Aotearoa today, and the fact that blended families are more common.”
“Our analysis also shows that 45% of our learners are of the Generation X demographic, (currently between 32 to 52 years of age). They are largely New Zealand born, with a desire to re-connect or learn for the first time their parent’s native language.”
But of most interest, is an emerging group of Pacific language learners.
“What we are observing with interest is the non-Pacific segment growing steadily and with zest. They are largely Kiwi mums, dads and grandparents. Where once we served almost exclusively the Pacific learner; a pocket of enthusiastic non -Pacific learners are emerging.”
“It’s reassuring to know that New Zealanders are playing a role in keeping Pacific languages and cultures alive in Aotearoa today.”
Registrations for the five Pacific language classes (Cook Islands, Fijian, Niue, Tongan and Samoan) in six Auckland locations are now open.
Registrations close on Friday 8th of February.
Call the PEC team on 09) 260 4042 or email [email protected] to secure a place today.
For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with CEO Christine Nurminen, contact Stella Muller [email protected], or call 021 213 8601.
OTHER STORY ANGLES AND PHOTOS AVAILABLE
We have a range of learner stories to cater for various media audiences. Contact Stella Muller to discuss.