HSC enrolments in foreign languages at a record low – Labor

 

 

The NSW Labor Opposition has expressed concern that the number of HSC students taking foreign languages has fallen to a record low – saying the O’Farrell Government is failing to prepare NSW graduates for a future of doing business in Asia.

It has been reported today that only 8 per cent of the more than 75,000 Year 12 students in NSW are enrolled in an HSC foreign language course this year.

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities Guy Zangari said the O’Farrell Government’s cuts to education had left an undersupply of language teachers in NSW schools – particularly in Asian languages.

“The O’Farrell Government has clearly dropped the ball when it comes to encouraging the study of foreign languages – and particularly Asian languages,” Mr Zangari said.

“Having cut $1.7 billion from the education budget last year, Premier Barry O’Farrell is not doing enough to recruit foreign language teachers to our schools.

“This means many high schools across NSW can’t offer the course – even where the student demand exists.

“NSW desperately needs graduates who are fluent in languages like Hindi, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian.

“Our future economic prosperity depends on NSW graduates being able to network and do business with other countries in Asia.

“In a competitive world, we can’t afford to let our children fall behind.”

Mr Zangari noted that the previous Labor Government expanded the budget by $8.1 million to Community Language Schools – creating the best funded program in Australia.

“Labor doubled funding to Community Language Schools because we know many parents want their kids to retain some connection with their heritage – to be able to converse in English but also their mother tongue,” Mr Zangari said.

“Mastering a second language is also a wonderfully satisfying way for a person to expand their view of the world and gain an understanding of foreign cultures.

“The O’Farrell Government needs to stop cutting money from schools and TAFE – and do everything possible to get student numbers back up.”

 

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