Interview: New Zealand gov’t must act on Chinese, Asian languages: academic


WELLINGTON, March 4 — New Zealand’s government is all talk and no action when it comes to the teaching of Chinese in schools and universities and the inaction is costing the country in lost business opportunities, a leading academic in Chinese studies said Tuesday.
While the government had been talking up “the Asian Century” and the importance of trade with China, the country’s biggest export destination, it had been squeezing funding for the teaching of Chinese and other languages, Massey University senior lecturer in Chinese Dr Rosemary Haddon told Xinhua.
Although China’s Confucius Institutes and Hanban by 2015.
However, the failure to learn Chinese and understand the country meant New Zealand companies were passing up unrealized profits, said Haddon.
“A lot of small and medium-sized enterprises say they can’t find people with language skills and they really need these people, ” she said.
“If you know the language and culture, you can go to the country and look at the factories yourself and ask the questions and negotiate. You can draw up the contracts directly and set your own terms.”
“There’s been an awful lot of talk for decades about the ‘Asian Century,’ but it’s very demoralizing because it just seems to be talk here in New Zealand,” said Haddon.
“Teaching Chinese and Asian languages has got to start in schools. We’ve had enough talk — it’s about time to have some action.”[db:内容2]