A friend who is a teacher attended a teachers only day the other day.
And was given the latest spiel from the ivory towers of the Wellington beltway on how to raise our kids.
Te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) are official languages of New Zealand. English, the medium for teaching and learning in most schools, is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use. For these reasons, these three languages have special mention in The New Zealand Curriculum.
In other words English is no longer an official language of New Zealand, according to the pointy heads of the Ministry but has to be used (unfortunately?) only because it is the one the majority of people speak and understand.
How long until Arabic joins the official list I wonder?
The comment thread on this post thus far suggest that this is a storm in a teacup.
Perhaps the excerpt in the post just illustrates that our educational establishment is illiterate and the use of de facto is a malapropism when they actually meant default.
Here is wikipedia's take on de facto languages versus de jure languages and interestingly enough they use New Zealand as an example suggesting that English is indeed a de jure language along with Te reo Maori and New Zealand sign.
According to this Government website
New Zealand has three official languages, English, Māori and sign language. Māori became an official language in 1987. New Zealand sign language became a third official language in April 2006.
And Ruth Dyson also agrees that English is an official (de jure) Language as in this press release.
Perhaps English is not enshrined in Law unlike the other two and we have all just assumed it is (i.e. it is a de facto language as written above). What opportunities does that present to those who would remake New Zealand in their own image?
Language is an important part of culture - that is surely recognized so when our educators downplay the one we universally use it is worth pointing out.