‘What is colonisation? What is assimilation? How has that impacted on me?’
Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system was created as a ‘deliberate, intentional tool of colonisation, and after colonisation assimilation’. In 1847 the Education Ordinance Act was introduced to ensure schools forcefully assimilate Māori (the indigenous population) into White European culture. Children were beaten for speaking their own language and Western European culture and knowledge was presented as ‘civilised’ and superior to the cultures and knowledge of the Māori. As a result multiple generations were conditioned to internalise an imposed cultural and racial hierarchy that still persists today.
The modern education system in Aotearoa New Zealand is considered to be one of the best in the world, and it even leads much of the world in the way it has begun to partially acknowledge Māori culture, language and identity as part of the curriculum. However it is often seen as an add on…
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