Good news for Hindi

School Education Minister Peter Garrett at the opening of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden learning centre at Collingwood College


New focus on languages under Australian Curriculum

All Australian students will be entitled to learn a language other than English under the new Australian Curriculum, with curriculum for Chinese Mandarin and Italian the first to be developed, School Education Minister Peter Garrett said.

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Languages, released today, outlines how languages other than English will be taught in schools as the new curriculum is introduced. The shape paper is written on the assumption that all Australian students will learn a language in primary and secondary school.

Mr Garrett said curriculum content will first be developed for Italian and Chinese Mandarin. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) will begin work with states and territories to develop curricula for Arabic, Auslan, classical languages, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

“Learning a second language provides us with a window into other cultures and ways of thinking, and is also of huge benefit to our overall education results, helping students in comprehension, critical analysis and other vital skills,” Mr Garrett said.

“As Australia embraces the ”˜Asian Century’ it’s vital that future generations are able to engage with our regional neighbours. Providing Australian students with greater opportunity to learn regional languages is therefore important from an economic and diplomatic perspective.”

The curriculum will provide, where appropriate, different learning pathways for students: second language learners, for students studying a second language in addition to their native language; background language learners, for students who have a background or family heritage in the language studied; and first language learners, for students who are native speakers of the language studied.

“The shape paper also outlines our commitment to teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in our schools, and a framework for this will be developed by ACARA,” Mr Garrett said.

“This is part of a renewed national focus on the learning of languages other than English. With the rollout of the NBN and access to the world’s first truly online curriculum, the technology is there for us to expand language teaching to every school, and to every student no matter where they live.”

Once the curricula for Mandarin and Italian are written they will be used to guide the writing of other languages.

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