Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 5014 ..
(d) strong communication skills are becoming increasingly valued by employers and our education system should evolve to equip all Canberra children with skills for a future not limited by geographic borders;
(e) the ACT government's Future of Education Strategy does not make a single mention of the importance of language education in Canberra schools;
(f) very few ACT government primary schools offer Mandarin - yet China is Australia's largest trading partner;
(g) no ACT government schools teach Arabic - despite Arabic being the third most commonly spoken language in Australia and the increasing demand in both public and private sectors;
(h) very few ACT government primary schools offer Indian languages - despite the importance of India as a trading partner and the high Indian population in the ACT; and
(i) the ACT government has failed to:
(i) appropriately prioritise or think strategically about the future of language education in Canberra schools;
(ii) adequately encourage or support teachers to pursue the appropriate qualifications to teach a second language; and
(iii) adequately promote the qualifications to teach a second language as a desirable skill for new teachers;
which has resulted in Canberra students not having a consistent language pathway from preschool or kindergarten through to college to pursue study of a second language; and
(2) calls on the ACT government to:
(a) explain to the Canberra community why it has failed to make a single mention of the importance of language education in its Future of Education Strategy;
(b) establish an action plan to encourage, improve and support language education in Canberra schools;
(c) work more closely with the Community Language Schools Association to share teaching resources so that language education can be offered in a school setting where needed; and
(d) report back to the ACT Legislative Assembly on its action plan by the last sitting day in March 2019.
Australia is one of the most multilingual societies in the world, with more than 350 languages in regular use in our homes and workplaces. Australia is a high migrant intake country—I am a case in point—and learning a foreign language not only strengthens intercultural understanding within our community but also adds to the ability to communicate with others globally. It is more than just a social benefit or a career benefit; it is a life benefit.
Languages are increasingly being recognised as one of the capabilities that young people are going to need in a globalised world. We know that the future for today's school leavers is quite different to what we have all experienced. Over the past five