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White Paper sets new course for Asia studies

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THE HON PETER GARRETT MP Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth


28 October, 2012

White Paper sets new course for Asia studies

Success in the Asian century will require all Australian students to have a better understanding of the culture, history and languages of our Asian neighbours.

Starting in school, students will need to develop the capabilities and skills to better understand and be active in the region.

To achieve this, three national objectives have been announced by School Education Minister Peter Garrett in response to the release of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper:

• Every Australian student will have significant exposure to studies of Asia across the curriculum to increase their cultural knowledge.

• All students will have the opportunity to study an Asian language from their first day of school through to Year 12. Priority Asian languages include Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese.

• Australia’s school system will be in the top five schooling systems in the world, delivering excellent outcomes for all students of all backgrounds, and systematically improving performance over time, as outlined in the National Plan for School Improvement.

“Our Asian neighbours are rapidly becoming the economic powerhouse of the world, and are increasing in global strategic importance,” Mr Garrett said.

“The growth in the economies of nations like China, India and Indonesia will provide fantastic opportunities for Australian businesses, and help create thousands of high-tech, high-skill and high-wage jobs for Australians.”

Asia-literacy will be a core requirement in new education reforms being negotiated between the Commonwealth, States and Territories and non-government education authorities under the National Plan for School Improvement.

“As part of our ongoing discussions we will require opportunities for students to study Asian culture, history and languages, from their first day of school, through the Australian Curriculum. That will give the next generation of Australians the knowledge and capabilities to prosper in the Asian century.”

In line with these objectives, all schools will engage with at least one school in Asia to support the teaching of a priority Asian language, including through increased use of the National Broadband Network.

“These national objectives support the Government’s ambition for Australia to be in the top five schooling systems in the world, delivering excellent outcomes for all students regardless of their background,’’ Mr Garrett said.

“The National Plan for School Improvement will make sure funding for schools is spent on the things we know will work to lift student results.

“This includes making sure schools are teaching students the skills they need to succeed in the Asian century. Building students’ knowledge and understanding of Asia is critical.”

The Gillard Government will work with business and the community to encourage students to study an Asian language and build their skills for the future.

The continued focus on Asia literacy and Asian languages in the Australian Curriculum builds on significant investments already being delivered by the Gillard Government including:

• $62 million to increase the number of Australian students becoming proficient in languages and understanding the culture of China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea under the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program • $41.2 million to support flexible delivery of language education including online materials for

teaching students in key areas including about Australia’s engagement with Asia • $22.8 million to promote the study of Asia across all curriculum areas in Australian schools through the Asia Education Foundation • Substantial investment in developing languages curriculums, with Chinese (Mandarin)

being one of the first developed. • $27.2 million for the NBN Enabled Education and Skills Services Program, including the Asia ConneXions utilising HD videoconferencing project.

The White Paper is available at:

Minister’s Media Contact: Kate Sullivan 0409 490 741 DEEWR Media: