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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Page: 21613


Mr Danby asked the Minister for Education, Science and Training, upon notice, on 9 September 2003:

(1) Can he inform the House about the reasons for the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) program being established.

(2) Can he inform the House of the number of Year 12 students studying (a) Modern Standard Chinese, (b) Indonesian, (c) Korean, and (d) Japanese in each State and Territory in each school year from1993, the year before the NALSAS program commenced, to the present.

(3) How many of these students in each State and Territory for each language and year are `background speakers' and `native language speakers'.

(4) How many of these students in each State and Territory for each language and year were at state schools, private schools, specialist language schools and ethnic language schools.

(5) How many university students are studying (a) Modern Standard Chinese, (b) Indonesian, (c) Korean, and (d) Japanese in (i) first year and (ii) in total in each State and Territory.

(6) How many university students graduate having completed a major course in (a) Modern Standard Chinese, (b) Indonesian, (c) Korean, and (d) Japanese in each State and Territory.

(7) Is Government policy intended to encourage and support the studying of Asian languages by Australian students; if so, which Government programs were in place for each of the academic years since 1990 to encourage the study of (a) Modern Standard Chinese, (b) Indonesian, (c) Korean, and(d) Japanese; if not, why not.

(8) What funding has the Government provided to NALSAS for each of the financial years since it was established.

(9) What is the common and agreed system of collecting data on NALSAS languages and Asian studies.


Dr Nelson (Minister for Education, Science and Training) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Australian Government and the States and Territories agreed to fund the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) Strategy, following a 1994 report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) entitled Asian Languages and Australia's Economic Future. The Strategy aimed to support enhanced and expanded Asian languages and studies delivery through all school systems in order to improve Australia's capacity and preparedness to interact internationally, in particular, with key Asian countries. The NALSAS Strategy targeted the Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Indonesian and Korean languages. These languages were chosen on the basis of regional economic forecasts made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

(2) National figures, derived from data supplied by State and Territory accreditation authorities for the National Report on Schooling, for Year 12 students studying Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese are available for the years 1993-2002. A breakdown by State and Territory is not available.

Japanese/Chinese/Indonesian/Korean Candidates for Year 12 Tertiary Entrance Subjects 1993 - 2002

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Japanese

4,320

5,451

5,032

5,381

5,287

5,524

5,198

5,292

5,401

5,298

Chinese

2,198

2,921

2,469

2,361

2,478

2,692

2,569

2,935

3,574

4,117

Indonesian

1,207

1,448

1,451

1,762

2,000

2,003

1,820

2,089

2,255

2,126

Korean

-

247

185

248

286

386

327

239

226

252

(3) Data on the numbers of `background speakers' and `native language speakers' is not available.

(4) Data on the number of students in each State and Territory for each language, for the years 1993 to the present, at state schools, private schools, specialist language schools and ethnic language schools is not available.

(5) Data on the number of university students commencing and enrolled in Asian languages (collected by sub-region rather than by individual language) for 2001 and 2002 are as follows:

Commencing students enrolled in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2001

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

1

16

0

0

1

18

Southern Asian languages

2

0

0

0

1

3

South East Asian languages

1

22

1

0

18

42

East Asian languages

67

83

89

5

14

258

Total

71

121

90

5

34

321

Commencing students enrolled in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2002

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

0

21

0

0

0

21

Southern Asian languages

2

9

2

0

0

13

South East Asian languages

4

28

0

0

15

47

East Asian languages

100

103

55

5

17

280

Total

106

161

57

5

32

361

Students enrolled in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2001

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

3

48

0

0

4

55

Southern Asian languages

5

0

0

0

4

9

South East Asian languages

9

67

3

12

38

129

East Asian languages

219

248

242

52

100

803

Total

236

363

245

52

100

996

Students enrolled in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2002

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

0

58

0

0

3

61

Southern Asian languages

8

10

2

0

3

23

South East Asian languages

9

73

2

5

43

132

East Asian languages

245

270

197

36

50

798

Total

262

411

201

41

99

1,014

(6) Data on the number of university students completing an award course in Asian languages (collected by sub-region rather than by individual language) for 2001 and 2002 is as follows:

Students completing award courses in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2001

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

NT

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

2

8

0

0

0

0

10

Southern Asian languages

0

0

2

0

0

0

2

South East Asian languages

2

12

2

6

0

12

34

East Asian languages

68

41

32

13

0

14

168

Total

72

61

36

19

0

26

214

Students completing award courses in Asian languages at Australian universities in 2002

NSW

Vic

Qld

WA

NT

ACT

Total

South West Asian and North African languages

0

5

0

0

0

0

5

Southern Asian languages

0

2

0

0

0

0

2

South East Asian languages

2

33

0

5

1

0

41

East Asian languages

56

77

49

16

0

0

198

Total

58

117

49

21

1

0

246

(7) While education, including languages education, is primarily the responsibility of State and Territory education authorities, the Australian Government recognises that languages education is a national priority and need. Consequently, since 1992, the Australian Government has supported the study of languages generally, including Asian languages, through the following programmes:

Dates

Programme

Description

1992 - 2000

Priority LanguagesElement (PLE)

Support for school language programmes in Aboriginal languages, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. (Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean transferred to NALSAS from 1994)

1992 - 2000

Community LanguagesElement (CLE)

Support for community language classes held during regular school hours (insertion classes) and for after hours classes, including in ethnic schools, in each State and Territory.

1994 - 2002

National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) Strategy

Identified Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean as the four key Asian languages. The Government undertook that the increased emphasis on these Asian languages would not diminish its commitment to the other identified priority languages. To this end, the Commonwealth adjusted the Priority Languages Element (PLE) to cater for the `other' priority languages.

2001 - to date

Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Element

Combined PLE and CLE to support languages generally, including Asian languages, in Australian schools and ethnic schools.

(8) The Australian Government provided the following funding for NALSAS for the period 1994 to 2002. Note that in 1997 NALSAS funding shifted from the Appropriations Act to the States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Act 1996 and so is calculated on calendar rather than financial years from then.

Year

(million $)

1994-1995

$2.800

1995-1996

$10.217

1996-1997

$10.057

1997

$30.441

1998

$21.562

1999

$44.437

2000

$29.960

2001

$30.007

2002

$30.432

TOTAL

$209.913

(9) For 2000 and 2001 education authorities agreed to report on student participation in each of the four NALSAS languages P - 12. They also agreed to participate in studies of Asia sample survey conducted in 2001. Since 2002, no agreed system of collecting specific data on NALSAS languages or studies of Asia has been in place.