Liberals push for greater diversity of language education to support next generation

The lingual diversity of our great multicultural community is not reflected in language programs offered in government schools, Shadow Education Minister Elizabeth Lee said.
Despite Canberra’s geostrategic significance, and its rich multicultural community, Education Minister Yvette Berry does not have a plan for the future of language education in Canberra schools.
Her Future of Education Strategy fails to make even a single mention of the importance of languages, let alone outline a plan to enrich the diversity of language programs on offer.
“Ms Berry’s failure to equip the next generation with language skills is a missed opportunity,” Ms Lee said.
“Canberra is a great multicultural city.
“People from all over the world live, work and study here. We should naturally be the best city in Australia to teach students a second language.
“Very few government schools teach important languages like Mandarin or any Indian language, despite these countries having a significant population in the ACT, and being significant trading partners with Australia.
“Not one government school teaches Arabic despite Arabic being the third most commonly spoken language in Australia, and its increasing demand in both public and private sectors.
“Knowing a second language will be an incredibly valuable skill for the next generation.
“We need to support teachers to pursue qualifications to teach a second language, and promote second language qualifications as a desirable skill for new teachers.
“I am calling on the government to establish an action plan to encourage, improve and support language education in Canberra schools,” Ms Lee said.