Trial to improve efficiency in community language schools

By Vijay Badhwar

Ray Williams, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, and Education Minister, Rob Stokes, announced an evaluation programme for community language schools to achieve better outcomes that align with economic benefits that follow in the long run with bi-lingual or multi-lingual workforce in the state.

Nearly 35,000 students access community languages classes out of school hours to study 58 languages in 545 locations across NSW, Rob Stokes said.

There is, however, no time frame set for the evaluation programme, Mr Stokes said in reply to a question from the media.

The evaluation programme will also not involve standardising the curriculum for various languages, he said, in response to another question.

The trial involving 1000 students from 10 language schools in the State is being organised by the Sydney Institute of Community Languages Education (SICLE) who has contracted a company to supply new learning management tools which are designed to improve operational procedures such as enrolment and attendance records.

A funding of $1.78 million allocated for the new online management system for delivery of professional learning to Community Languages Schools’ volunteer teachers will be better utilised if it is not limited merely by input from a few prominent language schools, especially if these are run by individuals rather than the community. Then it becomes only a bureaucratic exercise to ”˜tick the boxes’ with a bias to suit individuals rather than the community as a whole.

Mr Williams said the importance of language in maintaining cultural identity cannot be underestimated.

There are 200 scholarships available each year for volunteer community language teachers to undertake professional learning at Sydney University, focusing on strengthening their teaching skills to further support the delivery of this important program.

Community languages teachers will also be able to access new resources aligned with the NSW K-10 Languages syllabus.

Agreement has also been reached with the NSW Education Standards Authority to develop new syllabuses in Hindi, Macedonian, Persian (Dari/Farsi), Punjabi and Tamil, through an investment of $700,000 by the NSW Government.

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