Release type: Media Release


Building skills for engaging with Asia

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, will launch theLeading 21st Century Schools: Engage with Asia Forum, run by the Asia Education Foundation in Adelaide today.

The Rudd Government is committed to building stronger relationships with Asia. In the recent Federal Budget, $62.4 million was allocated to theNational Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program.

This program will commence in January 2009 and provide:

  • Additional Asian languages classes in high schools;
  • Teacher training and support; and
  • The development of specialist curricula for students who display advanced abilities in Asian languages and studies.

The educational advantage of learning a second language is well documented and creates enhanced employment and career prospects.

Engaging with people in our region with greater cultural understanding will enable us to build a more secure and economically strong nation into the future.

TheEngage with Asia Forumis being attended by about 250 primary and secondary school principals and influential school educators from across Australia.

The Minister will today announced that the Rudd Government will provide $6.3 million from 2008–09 to 2011–12 for the Asia Education Foundation to further the objectives of theNational Statement for Engaging Young Australians with Asia in Australian Schools.

With Australia exporting a significant amount of products to Asian countries, it is imperative that we develop the skills and abilities to engage wit

h these countries ― our neighbours and trading partners.

More information about the Forum is on the Asia Education Foundation’s website at