Hands up for a better Asian language plan | Age

Asian language teaching in Australian schools has declined to the point where more year 12 students are studying Latin than Chinese.

Despite China's growing importance and the Gillard government's goal of creating an ''Asia Literate'' society by 2025, fewer high school students who don't speak Chinese at home are learning the language than four years ago.

Jane Orton, director of the Chinese Teacher Training Centre at the University of Melbourne, said: ''After six years of bits and pieces, half an hour a week, they have no way of remembering the language, let alone mastering it, so the majority decide when leaving primary school that they're not going to go on learning.''

Experts say the problem stems from badly structured programs and incentives rather than a lack of student interest or teacher capabilities, as demonstrated by the achievement of some schools to create bilingual programs despite little support...

John Garnaut and Philip Wen | April 1, 2013 | Read article


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