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Applications open for new partnership fund to boost Asian languages in schools

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today encouraged organisations to apply for funding to help increase the uptake of Asian languages in schools under Round One of the new Strategic Collaboration and Partnership Fund.

The Fund is a key element of the Rudd Government’s $62.4 million National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) which commenced on 1 January 2009.

This initiative aims to increase the study of Asian languages and studies in our schools and ensure our young people have the skills to engage with our Asian neighbours, particularly China (Mandarin), Indonesia, Japan and Korea.

All Australian governments have committed to the NALSSP and an aspirational target that at least 12 per cent of students exit year 12 with a fluency in one of the target Asian languages sufficient for engaging in trade and commerce in Asia and/or university study, by 2020.

Through the Strategic Collaboration and Partnership Fund, the Australian Government will make $9.36 million available over three years, delivered through annual competitive funding rounds.

The Fund provides organisations including universities, higher education providers, businesses and Asian communities with the opportunity to undertake high quality, strategic projects that seek to encourage the teaching and learning of Asian languages and cultures in Australian schools.

Key priority areas for round one favour projects that:

  • involve strategic partnerships and delivery coalitions between organisations in the teaching and learning of the four Asian languages and studies of Asia;
  • identify strategies to increase language teacher supply and support, including recruitment and pre-service training of teachers;
  • stimulate student demand and create incentives for students to study one of the four identified Asian languages, particularly at the senior secondary level; and
  • use technological infrastructure or applications in the teaching and learning of the four Asian languages and studies of Asia

Applications for expressions of interest close at 5.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on 17 April 2009.

Further information on NALSSP and the Strategic Collaboration and Partnership Fund, including the NALSSP Program Guidelines and the expression of interest application form, is available at www.deewr.gov.au/schooling/NALSSP