State Government to boost bilingual numbers

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MORE South Australian school students would become bilingual under a new scheme launched by the State Government.

Education Minister John Gardner has introduced a suite of measures aimed at getting more students studying languages to help academic development and increase job opportunities.

The plan, promised from Opposition but released on Friday, includes

EXPANDED options for students to undertake language study, including greater access for remote and regional students.

OVERSEAS study tour scholarships to provide secondary students immersive opportunities to build language skills in other countries.

EXPANDED “Languages Alive” school holiday program for primary students, starting this July.

IMPROVED professional learning and scholarships for language teachers;

DEVELOPMENT of an Innovative Language Grants Program for primary schools

REVIEWING the language content in teaching degrees.

Since 2002, the proportion of Year 12 students studying a language other than English has halved in SA.

Japanese remains the most popular language studied in SA, followed by Italian. All languages have seen significant drops in the past 15 years.

Mr Gardner said learning a language has become increasingly important in a globalised market and it is benefited students’ overall cognitive and academic development.

“There an increasing focus in many countries on growing their bilingual workforce, and we want our children and young people to take full advantage of that,” he said..

“South Australia is a proud multicultural state, and our diverse heritage should be harnessed to further drive our cultural development and economic growth.”

Mr Gardner said it was important to re-ignite interest in language studies in SA.

“We have long advocated for a stronger focus on children and young people learning a second language, and it is now more important than ever to reinvigorate the study of languages in our schools,” he said.

A “Languages in Schools” initiative will allow four additional schools to offer the International Baccalaureate.

This is the internationally recognised and highly regarded certificate, which is currently offered at just one public school.

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