[lg policy] Australia: School subject review considers axing mandatory languages

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 5 21:36:12 UTC 2013

School subject review considers axing mandatory languages

   - Tanya Chilcott

  * LANGUAGES could be dropped as a compulsory subject in state schools in
a move teachers warn would disadvantage Queensland children. *

A review of mandatory languages in Years 6, 7 and 8 is also considering
whether the subject should be dropped in primary school, after Education
Queensland (EQ) recommended the subject start in Year 7, once the year
level moves into secondary.

In documents obtained under Right to Information, EQ says a Prep to Year 6
languages focus "is not recommended".

"Commencing languages in Year 7 would allow for efficient focusing of
curriculum time in Junior Secondary," a Ministerial briefing note states.

"Consequently, in Prep - Year 6 it would allow more time for schools to
focus on EQ core priorities as stated in United in our Pursuit of
Excellence. A second consideration is whether languages are mandated."

In the note Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek is warned of problems
sourcing language teachers in rural areas, with more than 1200 students
learning the subject through Distance Education, and that some school
communities and parents are against it being mandatory.

Mr Langbroek said a review into the mandatory languages policy was under

Japanese is currently the most popular language in state schools, followed
by German, French and Mandarin.

Modern Language Teachers' Association of Queensland president Cynthia Dodd
said she believed Year 7 was too late to start languages because students
attitudes had hardened by then and research showed children were more
receptive to languages in the early years.

P&Cs Qld CEO Peter Levett said research showed it was beneficial for
students to learn a language, although there were two schools of thought on
whether it made a difference if it started from Prep or not.


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