Release type: Media Release


Rudd Government commits to Asian languages in schools

The 2008-09 Budget delivers on a Rudd Government election commitment by boosting languages funding by $62.4 million over three years to help give Australian school students the language skills to engage with our Asian neighbours.

From January 2009, the new National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools program will support:

  • additional Asian languages classes in high schools;
  • teacher training and support; and
  • 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.

In 2007, East Asia was the destination for 58% of Australia’s merchandising exports.

Businesses engaging in trade and commerce will benefit through an increased number of Australians who will be able to engage confidently with our Asian neighbours.

One of the priorities of the new National Curriculum Board will be to work with key language education stakeholders to develop a national curriculum for languages.

The Rudd Government’s National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools program is in addition to the broader languages program.