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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3114

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) am asked the Minister for Immigation and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 21 April 1977:

What steps have the Australian authorities taken (a) under Article 2 1 of the Migration and Settlement Agreement between Australia and Italy, which entered into force on 8 July 1971, to promote facilities and establish classes to assist Italian workers and their families to acquire knowledge of the English language and to facilitate the integration of the children of Italian workers into the Australian education system and give them the opportunity of tuition in the Italian language and (b) under Article 2 of the Agreement of Cultural Co-operation between Australia and Italy, which entered into force on 28 May 197S, to facilitate the integration of Italian children into the Australian community while maintaining their cultural ties with their country of origin.

Mr MacKellar -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

English classes are available for adult Italian migrants as part of the overall migrant education program. Special funds also are provided through the Schools Commission to education authorities in the States for migrant and multi-cultural education including English language classes for migrant children from non-English speaking backgrounds. Surveys conducted by the Committee on the Teaching of Migrant Languages in Schools indicate that there are 41 courses in Italian in primary schools in Australia while 184 secondary schools offer Italian language courses. Italian children may also be taught in ethnic schools and a survey conducted by the Committee produced a response from 101 ethnic schools (37 in New South Wales, 56 in Victoria and eight in Western Australia).

The Commonwealth also funds special bridging courses for teachers trained in migrant-source countries at the State College of Victoria, Toorak, and at the Sydney Teachers'

College. In addition, discussions are taking place with Italian authorities about a possible pilot primary teacher exchange project.

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