Labor’s promise to fund community language teaching welcomed

Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek with Punjabi language teachers

The  Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Language Schools, Michael Christodoulou AM, has welcomed the commitment from the Federal Labor Party to fund the  teaching of community languages to the tune of 15 million dollars if it wins the election next month.
“The funding would make a significant impact, as many schools rely on volunteer teachers, the use of public-school classrooms, and fundraising to keep operating.

Language teachers at the conference

“They can do a lot of things with that amount of money. These schools do a lot of good work. Most of the students who attend language schools do continue with it right into high school, and even HSC.”
Labor’s commitment was announced by the Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek, at the Federation’s annual conference at the weekend attended by 400 of the State’s community language school teachers.
Ms Plibersek told the conference, “Every community language school that is funded by a state or territory government will receive a grant offer of up to $30,000 over three years, with the amount of funding dependent on the number of enrolments.
She said, “It will allow community language schools to expand their programs to pre-schoolers, improve teacher training, and upgrade classroom resources. “For example, the funding might be used to subsidise a teacher’s TAFE course in community languages, purchase educational equipment such as laptops, or develop new teaching materials. 
“Community language schools mean kids born or growing up in Australia can learn the language and culture of their parents, grandparents, and others who migrated here from overseas.   “Learning a second language is good for all Australian kids, regardless of their language or cultural background. It helps prepare them for the economy and jobs of the future,” she said.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure

The NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure told the conference, “I believe everyone should be learning a second language. It presents us an opportunity to embrace our multiculturalism in a practical way.

“There are a raft of benefits to learning and being able to speak another language. For Sydney to really live up to our potential as a Global City, more of us need a greater knowledge of a second language”, he said.
“It can help people connect or reconnect with a cultural group – language and culture are closely interlinked after all.

“It can even help us understand the way other cultures do business, which would allow us to be more competitive in a globalised economy.”
The President of the Federation, Lucia Johns said after the conference: “It is so encouraging to hear politicians from both sides of politics arguing the benefits for all children to learn a second language, whether it is the language of their parents and grandparents or not. The whole country will benefit.”

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