The head of a New Zealand parliamentary committee says Australia is lagging behind in its education of Indigenous children.
The Maori Select Parliamentary Committee has been touring central Australia. The group is comparing the treatment of Indigenous children with Maori children in New Zealand.
Committee chairman Parekura Horomia says he is shocked by the lack of bilingual education in central Australia. He says combining western and traditional languages through education is a staple in New Zealand. "We have culture and language from preschool right through to university for that matter," he said.
Mr Horomia says education programs for Indigenous Australians are decades behind those in New Zealand. He says it would be "crazy" to end teaching culture and language through schools. "What I've seen this time is where we were about 20 years ago," he said. "Bilingualism is really critical. Now the challenge is always when people say there's not a place for it in this world. "Well ... why should you tell the Aborigines never mind your language or never mind your culture? Why would you tell them that? It's crazy, it's naive."
Originally posted on ABC News by By Allyson Horn