Premier announces $10.9 million investment for community langauges

By Neena Badhwar

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, an Armenian  did not know English when she moved to Australia with her parents as a child. At  the  NSW Federation of Community Language Schools Annual Dinner,  the premier said  she was proud  to be a bilingual. And also of the teacher, who had taught her Armenian in a Sunday community school as a young girl, her  having won the award for teaching Armenian language for 25 years.


Premier as a toddler with her father Krikor, a welder who moved to Australia in the 1960s

Only the bilingual premier does not know that Indians from any part of India know four or more languages. And this is the trend in children who are being brought up in a multicultural, multilingual environment here. Most of the students learn a language or two besides English.

NSW community language schools teach 59 languages to 32,000 students on weekends at 500 locations across NSW by a huge force of committed community language teachers. The importance of languages in a multicultural society such as  Australia has become paramount where people from 200 nations have settled.

All these teachers now are slowly being absorbed in mainstream schools. To take language teaching to a new level these teachers must be trained , resources must be supplied  so that language teaching achieves a standard by raising its  bar.

The function had the honour of not only the premier but Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams, Victor Dominello, Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Jihad Dib, Shadow Minister for Education,  Dr G.K (Harry) Harinath, chairperson Multicultural NSW were all present to announce a windfall of $10.9 million investment    from the NSW Government to the federation to help  support teachers and deliver assessment resources to students across NSW.

This additional funding will increase the number of students learning a language in NSW by improving resources available to teachers, and the teacher standards in our community language schools.

As a student of a Community Language School growing up, Ms Berejiklian said the benefits of learning a second language are well documented.

“Learning a second language not only expands your cultural awareness, but it can lead to better academic results and improve career opportunities.
“This investment will play an important role in increasing the amount of students who study a language through to the HSC.

“Our commitment to strengthening languages learning is not just an investment in language, but in our society.”

Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams, said the investment demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting diverse community organisations.

“In NSW we speak more than 200 languages and community language schools play a vital role in sharing heritage and culture with future generations,” Mr Williams said.

Mrs. Mala Mehta, OAM, founder, co-ordinator of IABBV Hindi school, also received the award for  teaching Hindi for more than a quarter century  with the school celebrating its 30th anniversary in June.


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