Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Assistant Minister for Education Victor Dominello recently announced an additional $400,000 in funding to support the state’s community language schools network.
Mr Dominello, who made the announcement at a Chinese Language School in Eastwood, said that under the Communities United Through Language reforms total funding for community languages in NSW will increase to over $6 million per year.
“The Baird Government recognises the value of students learning the language of their heritage and maintaining links with their communities both here and abroad,” he said.
“We are proud to be investing at record levels in our Community Language Schools network, which teaches 32,000 students in over 50 different languages across 250 organisations.
“Over 20 per cent of people in NSW speak a language other than English at home and as our state’s economy continues to grow – so too does the value of our multilingual workforce – which provides invaluable human links to our major trading partners.
“The Communities United Through Language reforms, which have been developed in consultation with the community languages sector, will enhance opportunities for teachers to undertake professional development and improve student participation in NSW.
Mr Dominello said the reforms would provide greater incentives for community language students by, for the first time:
- Providing formal recognition of Community Language School learning through Record of School Achievement (RoSA) for graduating students;
- Awarding Certificates of Participation to primary school students who successfully complete 12-months in community languages schools program;
- Making it easier for smaller language groups to establish community language schools by reducing the minimum number of students required from 30 to 20;
- Establishing a Community Language Ambassador’s Program encouraging high profile individuals to promote the benefits of community language learning; and
- Creating a website to serve as a one-stop-shop for NSW Community Language Schools programs to provide information to parents, students and teachers.
“Since their establishment community language schools have enabled thousands of students to develop skills and competency in a second language,” Mr Dominello said.
“Multilingualism is a significant asset to our state and community language schools can be proud of its contribution towards building these grassroots program which is widely treasured in our community,” Mr Dominello said.
Chair of the NSW Community Languages Schools Board Jozefa Sobski, “I welcome the Government’s commitment to enhancing professional development for volunteer teachers.
“Quality teachers contribute to quality language learning. We must support and recognise their contribution.”
NSW Federation of Community Language Schools President Albert Vella said, “We warmly welcome this package of reforms and look forward to working with the NSW Government to ensure the benefits flow down to our students and volunteer teachers.”
Further information about the Communities United Through Language reforms is available at: http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/what-we-offer/community-programs.
Published in The Indian Sun, Sydney