Strengthening links to the east

We are reaping the benefits from strengthening links with countries to our west, in particular China.

Prime Minister John Key’s trip to Latin America signalled we’re also taking links with countries to our east more seriously.

There is good potential for business relationships, trade and also links through education:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced that seven 15 and 16 year-old Spanish language students from New Zealand will travel to Santiago later this year as part of a new exchange programme.

The “Flying Kiwis” programme has been developed in response to the highly-successful Chilean government-sponsored “Penguins without Borders” programme, which was piloted in New Zealand this year, and saw forty Chilean students come to New Zealand to live and study for two terms in the first half of the year.

The New Zealand students will go to school in Santiago and stay with the families of the Chilean students who participated in the “Penguins without Borders” programme.

Ms Parata made the announcement today during her meeting with Chile’s Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Felix de Vicente in Santiago.

“The “Flying Kiwis” programme is an exciting opportunity for our students. It will enable them to see and experience life in Chile and immerse themselves in the Spanish language,’’ says Ms Parata.

“It was an honour for New Zealand to be chosen to host the pilot of the “Penguins without Borders” programme and a great pleasure for our schools and communities to host the first group of Chilean students. I know that the schools and families in Santiago will welcome and look after our students in true Chilean style.’’

The New Zealand students will be chosen from those learning the Spanish language at schools currently hosting the Chilean students in New Zealand.  Their travel will be sponsored by Education New Zealand, the government’s agency for international education.

“Education exchange is a wonderful opportunity that brings a new world of experience for all involved.  Scholarship and exchange programmes such as “Flying Kiwis” and “Penguins without Borders” create lifelong connections for both the Chilean and New Zealand students taking part. We look forward to continued involvement in such programmes.”

Earlier today Ms Parata met with Chile’s Minister of Education, Carolina Schmidt, and invited Chile to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession which New Zealand will host in March 2014.

Ms Parata is in Chile to reinforce the bilateral relationship, in which education is a key strand, between Chile and New Zealand, following on from Prime Minster John Key’s visit to Chile earlier in the year.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges. We got the jackpot when we hosted a teenager from Argentina for a year through AFS and his family is now ours.

The Chilean exchanges are shorter, just a few weeks, but that is time for those involved to learn a lot and establish relationships which could endure.

The programme might lead to longer exchanges and other educational opportunities.

Year-long exchanges between countries in the southern hemisphere, like Chile and Argentina,  make it easier for students because the educational calendar is similar whereas those going to or from the northern hemisphere countries like Japan or China have to come or leave part way through a school-year.

 

 

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5 Responses to Strengthening links to the east

  1. Viv K says:

    Perhaps these exchanges with Chile and Argentina will mean that more young New Zealanders will learn about the military coups in those countries in the 70s where thousands of people were ‘disappeared’ and then Friedman’s ‘Chicago boys’ implemented extreme right wing economic policies and transferred the wealth from the people to their rich mates. Maggie Thatcher’s buddy Pinochet was an evil man who caused great harm to Chile. People who understand what happened in South America, where democracy was crushed, will be alert to the less overt, but significant eroding of democratic rights and privacy in NZ. Also the transfer of wealth from the people to the richest 2% in the form of assert sales. Education is a great thing.

  2. homepaddock says:

    I doubt that history will be on the curriculum, Viv, though people I know from both countries make no excuses for the atrocities of the past.

    Even if politics and history aren’t on the agenda, exchangees might be able to see the dangers of going too far left by observing the overt and significant economic and social problems in Argentina which are the result of socialism.

    As for asset sales,the people never owned them. The state did and now it’s got billions of dollars to invest in other assets where the need for public money is greater.

  3. Viv K says:

    The State owns the energy companies which were set up and paid for by NZ taxpayers. The citizens of this country do own them (or what will be left of them when your friends are finished). Energy shortages loom this century, selling energy companies is a policy designed to ensure that the wealthy few benefit in the long term.

  4. JC says:

    Here is a link that shows a more complete and joyful picture of Chile before, during and after the Pinochet years:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9842723/How-Chiles-ad-men-ousted-Pinochet-the-real-life-story-behind-new-film-No.html

    In particular I want to highlight this comment:

    “he was presented with research showing that large numbers of Chileans were too scared to vote “no”; either because they feared retribution from the regime or because they feared a return to the Marxism of Allende and all that entailed: strikes, spiralling inflation, queues for food.”

    Chile used to be a basket case.. during the 50s to 73 it had the worst performing economy in Sth America with inflation running at 140-200% depending on sources. Allende might have had the “peoples” interest at heart but his Marxist policies were vastly more brutal than Pinochet in the long run.

    So from basket case to the best performing SA economy and first SA country admitted into the OECD “rich” club.. Pinochet may have been brutal but he’s one of the most benign dictators in SA history who eventually acceded to the will of the people and handed over a flawed but performing economy that would become the marvel of Sth America under Democracy and Capitalism 1990-2013.

    Chile has a long way to go, for example its child poverty rate is similar to a hell hole like the US but its also recorded the second most improved child poverty figures in the OECD since the mid 90s.

    http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/CO2.2%20Child%20poverty%20-%20update%20270112.pdf

    JC

  5. Viv K says:

    Pinochet benign! BULLSHIT.

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