Release type: Media Release


Keeping our commitments: $11.6 million investment in early years language education


The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Education
Leader of the House

Language learning is back at the top of the schools agenda with the Abbott Government announcing $11.6 million for two programmes designed to increase the number of students studying languages other than English.

The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

Foreign language learning has fallen off the agenda in recent years.

It is crucial that Australia invests in language education to ensure our students are not left behind.

That’s because Australian students face increasing competition from overseas and will need new skills to succeed in the new jobs economy.

Improving the take-up of foreign languages will help our young people to be able to grow our export businesses and strengthen our economy, by giving them the ability to deal with overseas customers and partners.

It will also give young people access to a greater range of rewarding and challenging opportunities in the new world of work.

In the 2014-15 Budget, the Abbott Government is honouring its election commitment to deliver $9.8 million for the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) trial and $1.8 million for the development of new languages curricula under the Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 10.

ELLA will provide pre-school children with early exposure to a range of languages other than English in order to determine the effectiveness of online language learning programmes targeting children below school age.

The new languages curricula for Foundation to Year 10 will be developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) according to existing nationally agreed processes. Hindi, Turkish, and Australian Sign Language will be added to 11 existing languages. Curricula will also be developed to study the historically significant languages of Classical Greek and Latin.

The Abbott Government’s commitment to strengthening the curriculum under the Students First approach means we will no longer leave our best and brightest with limited language options.

These measures will help equip young people to be competitive in the new jobs of a global economy.

The Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long-term challenges before us.