NSW government doubles the funding to community language schools

On November 23 Premier Kristina Keneally and Education Minister, Verity Firth announced that NSW Government will more than double the funding for Community Language Schools ”“ ensuring the children of migrants retain the language of their parents.

There are more than 33,000 children studying at 435 Community Language Schools around
NSW ”“ in 48 different languages and dialects.

“This is about ensuring the children of migrants get to retain and love the language of their parents,” Ms Keneally said.
The NSW Government will spend
– $8.1 million over four years to double Community
– Language School funding will increase from $60 to $120 per student a year.
– Unlike other States, the NSW Government does not charge Community Language Schools rent so the additional $8.1 million will go directly towards buying new textbooks and equipment for students.

Funding will also be adjusted annually to ensure the Government’s support keeps pace with inflation, a first for Community Language Schools in Australia.

The NSW Government’s funding boost includes:

– A $500,000 Community Language School grants program to provide schools with new textbooks and resources for the 2011 school year;
– An additional $30,000 for 300 volunteer teachers to undertake a fully-subsidised professional accreditation course each year through university study; and
– Community Language School start-up grants will increase from $1,000 to $2,500 to support the introduction of new schools and language courses where there is unmet demand.

Ms Keneally said, “We are funding the most Community Language Schools, the most students and the most languages to support the culturally diverse community we are fortunate to share in here in NSW.

“This sends a clear message about the importance of multiculturalism and diversity in our state. Not only do we aim to become a smart state in terms of culture it is a smart decision for our economy as bilingual environment leads to better business. ” Ms Keneally added.

Chair of the Community Languages Schools Board, Jozefa Sobski said, “We are absolutely thrilled to get this early X-Mas present which has been long overdue.”

President of the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools, Albert Vella also welcomed the funding boost.

“NSW will now lead Australia in assisting language learning and maintenance, and this is good for our culture and good for our global future,” Ms Sobski said.

“This funding increase by the Keneally Government is a very welcome recognition of our hard work and the importance of teaching languages for the future of NSW,” Mr Vella said.

On top of this, the NSW Government already:
Funds $410,000 each year in subsidies so Community Language Schools do not
pay rent; Invests $200,000 each year in professional development for volunteer teachers; Provides two full-time project officers; Funds two full-time professional development officers.

The NSW Education Department has also helped to establish a certificate accreditation in community language teaching at Wollongong University to help volunteer teachers attain professional qualifications.

The 300 NSW Government funded volunteer scholarship recipients will undertake their community language school training at short courses put on by the university at various locations in Sydney or the Illawarra.

This recognises the important role of volunteer teachers in Community Language Schools and will support high standards of teaching in language schools across NSW.

Ms Firth said, “Community Language Schools provide an invaluable service ensuring children across our State maintain strong links to their heritage through language.”

“The people who work and volunteer in Community Language Schools deserve our support and the Government is delighted to double the funding the schools receive ”“ from $60 to $120 per student, per year.

“Community Language Schools will also be able to apply for funds under the NSW Government’s $500,000 grants program to purchase updated textbooks and classroom resources for the 2011 school year.”

Minister for Citizenship, John Hatzistergos said: “The $2,500 Community Language School start up grants will encourage the establishment of Community Language Schools to cater for new languages in new areas.”

“This is particularly important for new and growing communities in NSW who want to share their traditional languages with the rest of our community.”

Information on how to apply for funds in the $500,000 Community Language School grants program and the $2,500 establishment grants program will be released shortly.

The Indian sub-continent language schools to benefit from the program include Hindi, Bengali, Sinhala, Tamil, Sanskrit, Dari, and Marathi languages.

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