Reviving Foreign Language Study in Gold Coast Schools
18 May 2012
Gold Coast MP Steven Ciobo says the Coalition’s announcement of reviving foreign languages in schools is the right policy to help unlock the potential offered by the Asian Century.
“Within a decade, we want to see 40 per cent of all Year 12 students on the Gold Coast and across Australia studying a foreign language”, said Mr Ciobo.
“I know many students in local schools learn foreign languages, but I don’t believe it is enough,” he said.
“The proportion of Year 12 students studying a foreign language has dropped from about 40 per cent in the 1960s to about 12 per cent today.
“China, Japan, Korea and India are our major trading partners and yet the teaching of foreign languages is in decline.
“Knowing the languages of our trading partners is a key to unlocking the potential of the Asian Century for Australia.
Mr Ciobo said a Coalition Government will work urgently with the states to ensure at least 40 per cent of Year 12 students are once more taking a language other than English within a decade.
“We want to see 40 per cent of today’s Year 2 students to be studying a foreign language when they are in Year 12.
“We believe that starting in pre-school every student should have an exposure to foreign languages.
“Reviving the study of foreign languages in our schools is part of the Coalition’s positive plan for our economy.
“China, for example, is Australia’s biggest trading partner, yet across Australia there are now only about 300 Year 12 Mandarin students who aren’t of Chinese-heritage.”
Mr Ciobo said that he understood that introducing such a generational change would take time as foreign language speakers will have to be mobilised and because teachers take time to be trained.
“It will take time, but the next Coalition government will make a strong and urgent start,” he said.
“I am looking forward to working with local schools to ensure this plan to revitalise foreign languages becomes a reality for Australian children.”