Chinese Mandarin and Italian will be the first languages to be taught in schools from Foundation to Year 10 under the Australian Curriculum from 2014.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett today visited the Italian Bilingual School in leichhardt with local member Anthony Albanese to release the draft Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Languages for Chinese Mandarin and Italian papers for public consultation.
“Chinese and Italian are the two most common second languages spoken in Australia. This fact combined with the long-standing historical and cultural connections between these two countries and Australia is why they were chosen as the first curricula to be developed,” Mr Garrett said.
“The Italian community has played an important role in Australia since the post-war period, establishing Italian as one of the largest community languages in Australia.
“Chinese Mandarin is a priority language under the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, which aims to promote the learning of Asian languages and build Asia literacy capabilities in Australian schools and students.
For the first time, under the Australian Curriculum, there will be specific learning pathways built into the Chinese Mandarin Curriculum to suit the needs and ability of individual students, including background speakers, first language students and those who wish to learn a second language.
“Different learning pathways will address the increasingly diverse needs and interests of the Australian population, which include Australian–born and overseas–born Chinese speakers attending school in Australia, as well as students that want to learn Chinese as their second language,” Mr Garrett said.
“Learning a second language will help our children be global citizens and take advantage of the opportunities the Asian Century will give them, including international employment opportunities and greater cultural awareness.
“This is an important stage in the development of the national curriculum and I invite all stakeholders to use this opportunity to get involved and give their feedback on the draft curricula,” Mr Garrett said.
Under the National Plan for School Improvement, we want all schools to implement the national curriculum in all subjects, giving every Australian student a common, high-quality learning entitlement.
Other languages are currently being developed for the Australian Curriculum, including Japanese, Indonesian, German, French, Vietnamese, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, Modern Greek and a Framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.
The draft curricula are published online through the ACARA website: www.consulation.australiancurriculum.edu.au
Consultation on the Chinese Mandarin and Italian curricula with education authorities, schools, language specialists and communities will continue until 12 April 2013.
For more information on the Australian Curriculum: Languages visit: http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/learning_areas/languages.html
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.