[lg policy] Australia: Indigenous languages to be taught as a year 12 school subject in Australia

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Dec 1 20:44:51 UTC 2015

Indigenous languages to be taught as a year 12 school subject in Australia
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[image: Sydneyflag]
An Aboriginal flag in front of Sydney Tower.
Image: AAP / Richard Ashen
[image: Headshot]
By Jacob Gillard18 hours ago

Providing an important link to the country's heritage, indigenous
Australian languages will become a subject for the first time for year 12
students in New South Wales taking their final exams. The new policy will
begin in 2016.

NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, announced the subject's
introduction on Monday. Speaking at a school in the state's west, Piccoli
said the course will help "maintain this critical part of Aboriginal

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"The new course enables students to continue their studies into Years 11
and 12 and I look forward to other schools joining them," he said.

The course does not count towards a student's ATAR, however — a final
academic grading that determines whether students can attend university and
which courses they can take.

The new course comes a decade after an indigenous language policy was
introduced into the state's education system. Students in NSW have been
able to study Aboriginal languages from kindergarten to year 10 since 2005

Bilingual education in Australia is hotly debated. In 2009, the Northern
Territory government — a region of Australia with a high indigenous
population — drew the ire of many Aboriginal educators after introducing a
policy where the first four hours of school had to be taught in English.
The policy was relaxed in 2012 after claims it was "absurd," according to
the ABC <http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/07/19/3548905.htm>.

A former Federal parliament committee reported in 2012
that research pointed to a number of benefits of incorporating indigenous
bilingual education, including improved attendance rates as well as
increased self esteem and cultural understanding.

NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Leslie Williams, supported the move
and said schools are a crucial part of helping Aboriginal students
understand their own language and culture.

"The partnership between the school and their local Aboriginal community
will enable knowledge holders to provide expertise and guidance to
classroom teachers," Williams said.

"For non-Aboriginal young people it will provide them with a deeper
understanding of the world's oldest living culture."

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