[lg policy] Australia: Bilingualism and Multilingualism in New South Wales

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 24 15:51:21 UTC 2012

Bilingualism and Multilingualism in NSW <http://yourlanguage.org/> Should
there be a state (and federal policy) for bilingualism and multilingualism
education in Australia?

   - Home <http://yourlanguage.org/>
   - Aboriginal Bilingualism<http://yourlanguage.org/aboriginal-bilingualism/>
   - About <http://yourlanguage.org/about-2/>
   - Australia in the Asian
   - Bilingualism and Multilingualism in the Australian
   - Education // Programs <http://yourlanguage.org/educationprograms/>
   - Practitioners <http://yourlanguage.org/practitioners/>
   - Research / Australian Bureau Statistics

 Australia’s National Language Policies, 1987-2012?

Australia in the Asian Century White Paper – Michael Leunig cartoon
(printed 31 October 2012).

On 2 November (2012) I attended a lecture by Dr. Howard Nicholas the Senior
Lecturer in Language Education of La Trobe University in Melbourne held at
University of Technology Sydney. He outlined Australia’s five national
language policies:

   1. National Policy on Languages – 1987
   2. Australia’s Language: The Australian Language and Literacy Policy –
   3. The National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools
   (NALSAS) – 1994
   4. National Asian Languages and Studies in School Program (NALSSP) – 2005
   5. (and the recently introduced) Australia in the Asian Century White
   Paper – 2012

Dr. Nicholas made clear the dilemma of where Australia and the states have
moved, and where the country has not moved with a language policy.

“Australia has articulated a view of bilingualism that is segmented and
that is English for all. So there is no clear priority structure for a
language policy in Australia. Now with the *Australia in the Asian Century
White Paper,* we see four key Asian languages being encouraged and this is
not a good holistic view of bilingualism”.

He makes the point learning a second language in primary or high school
offers a segmentation in learning two languages, this can become
complicated for the learner and can only encourage one language – namely
English over the other – when learning in Australia, as it is our national

Dr. Nicholas encourages “bilingualism for everybody” with the view that the
national government establishes a language policy that does not isolate
languages as is the *Australia in the Asia Century White Paper, *and for
the state government’s to develop and support ‘actions groups’ that run in
conjunction and in accordance with the national policy. Thereby bilingual
programs become specific to the language or dialect spoken in a particular
demographic not only orally but also in written form, assisted by the state
government under national policy governance.


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