Language studies set to be reinvigorated in SA schools

A suite of measures designed to reinvigorate language studies in SA schools has been introduced, fulfilling a 100-day commitment of the Marshall Liberal Government.

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

Education Minister John Gardner said the suite of measures will create new opportunities that benefit our students, schools and education system.

“Learning a language has become increasingly important in a globalised market, and it is also beneficial for students’ overall cognitive and academic development,” said Mr Gardner.

“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.

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

“These benefits have not being adequately realised in South Australia due to the lack of focus on this area during Labor’s 16 years.

“Equally, we want to ensure that students from English speaking backgrounds are also able to benefit from the educational advantages of learning a second language.

“The former Labor Government oversaw a significant decline in the number of students who undertake language studies.

“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 – the Government’s package will do just that.”

The Languages in Schools initiative will allow four additional schools to offer the International Baccalaureate, with interested schools being invited to attend an information session later this month.

The International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognised and highly regarded certificate, which is currently only offered in one public school.

The initiative also includes increased support at the SACE level to provide a range of expanded options for how students can undertake language study, as well as providing greater access for remote and regional students.

Other measures being introduced as part of the initiative include:

  • Overseas study tour scholarships that will provide secondary students immersive opportunities to build language skills in other countries
  • An expanded Languages Alive holiday program for primary students, which will run during school holiday periods starting this July
  • Improved professional learning and scholarships for language teachers
  • The development of an Innovative Language Grants Program for primary schools
  • A review of both current and future workforce needs; and
  • A review of the language content in teaching degrees.