Becoming Asia Aware
With the world becoming increasingly linked, many school systems are moving to equip students with the skills they need to compete and succeed within a global environment. The Asia region is – and will continue to be – a significant player in the world in the 21st century.
It is essential that young New Zealanders have the knowledge, skills and competencies to live and work in this inter-connected world.
Why become Asia Aware?
New Zealand’s proximity to Asia means that our future is inextricably linked to the Asia-Pacific region.
New Zealand’s economy is highly dependent on international trade, particularly to and from the Asia region. China is currently New Zealand’s second-biggest source of imports, and our second-largest export market (after Australia). Japan is fourth.
But it is not just for trade and economic purposes that young New Zealanders need to be Asia Aware. New Zealand has a rapidly changing population.
About 16% of New Zealanders will identify with an Asian ethnic origin by 2025. All New Zealanders need to know more about the Asian communities in New Zealand and how that cultural diversity enriches New Zealand.
More importantly, many study and work opportunities for young New Zealanders are in Asia.
- Asia Aware: Why Asia matters to New Zealand (PDF - 526KB) - hard copies are available from the Asia New Zealand Foundation
What is an Asia Aware school?
An Asia Aware school is one that ensures the skills and knowledge that students need to understand more about Asia are embedded its curriculum and school environment. The school also helps students develop their intercultural competencies, so they can operate confidently in Asia, and with Asian people in New Zealand.
- Ed Talk website - Dr Yong Zhao describe some of the competencies that students need (video) - the presidential chair and associate dean for global education at the University of Oregon talks about how globalisation changes the value of previously uneconomical skills and talents.
What is an Asia Aware student?
“Asia Aware students have the skills and knowledge to live in an interconnected world, specifically with their Asian neighbours, both in Asia and in New Zealand.” (New Zealand Curriculum and Asia Guide, p19)
Asia Aware skills include knowing about the peoples and countries of Asia, knowing an Asian language and having an intercultural awareness. This awareness includes competencies such as a willingness to learn about others’ cultures and an appreciation of diversity.