[EDLING:176] Australia: Not minding our languages

Francis M. Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 29 18:50:41 UTC 2007

The Age

Not minding our languages

AUSTRALIANS are dunces when it comes to foreign languages and this is damaging 
the nation's performance in trade, tourism and cultural diplomacy.

So says the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the elite Group of Eight 
universities, which will hold a Languages in Crisis summit in Canberra next 
week to discuss ways of improving the situation.

Only 13 per cent of year 12 students study a foreign language and 6 per cent 
learn an Asian language, while just half the school-aged population has had any 
form of foreign language learning. Australian Academy of the Humanities 
executive director John Byron said the shortage of bilingual speakers was "the 
great unacknowledged skills crisis in Australia".

Full story

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