$15 mn for community language schools, grants open 1 Sep

By Our Reporter
Representative photo// Photo by NGV // Indian Community Day

In a significant move to bolster Australia’s cultural diversity and foster connections within its communities, the Albanese government has announced a substantial commitment of $15 million for community language schools.

With over 700 such schools across the country, these grants aim to empower these institutions and recognise their pivotal role in maintaining cultural heritage and bridging gaps between different linguistic communities.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, unveiled the funding earlier this week, emphasising the program’s tailored approach to cater to the unique needs of various language schools.

Ranging from smaller setups serving specific ethnic groups to larger institutions accommodating thousands of students, these grants acknowledge the diversity that defines modern Australian society.

Addressing an online press conference for CALD media today, Giles said the grants are set to open on 1 September, offering a timely opportunity for language schools to secure much-needed financial support. The commitment not only acknowledges the cultural significance of these schools but also acknowledges the high quality of education they provide, he added.

The government is scheduled to conduct online sessions aimed at providing assistance to smaller organisations. “This initiative recognises the vast diversity that exists not only in the languages taught but also in the sizes of these community language schools,” Giles said.

Community language schools have long been recognised for their effectiveness in preserving heritage languages and facilitating a sense of belonging among various cultural groups. These institutions have become even more crucial in recent years, as the country has faced numerous challenges related to multiculturalism and social cohesion, the Minister said.

He highlighted the role of these schools in keeping Australia connected to its diverse cultures and promoting understanding in the face of adversity.

Acknowledging that students from community language schools have demonstrated remarkable proficiency in various languages, often achieving top ranks in educational assessments like the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria.

The funding comes at a crucial juncture, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has just announced a forthcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament and constitutional recognition, scheduled for 14 October.

This move is set to engage approximately 18 million Australians in shaping the nation’s trajectory and its relationship with its indigenous communities. As citizens gear up to participate in this historic event, the support for community language schools aligns with broader efforts to foster inclusivity and cultural understanding.

Looking ahead, there are discussions about promoting the recognition and accreditation of language skills acquired through community language schools. This recognition would extend beyond the confines of the education sector and acknowledge the real-world applicability of the linguistic competencies gained from these institutions. Such recognition would further elevate the status of community language schools and the valuable contribution they make to Australia’s social fabric.

As the nation prepares for the crucial referendum in October, the government’s investment in community language schools stands as a testament to its commitment to preserving cultural heritage, fostering understanding, and building a more inclusive Australia.

With the grants set to open shortly, these institutions will have the opportunity to strengthen their impact and continue playing a vital role in the nation’s multicultural narrative.

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