Translating “plus ca change …” into Mandarin  

University of Sydney VC Michael Spence  backs the Labor Party proposal to expand teaching Asian languages in schools, calling it a “step in the right direction for Australia’s economic and cultural future.”

The Opposition says it will increase Asian language teachers, improve curricula, plus other initiatives – all for $32m.
“In recent years, the proportion of school students choosing to study Asian languages in Year 12 has stagnated, and in some cases gone backwards. We must do better.”

Just as Australia had to do better in the ‘90s, when the same issue was on the agenda. In 1994, COAG agreed that teaching Japanese, Mandarin, Indonesian and Korean would be school priorities. In 1999 the Commonwealth agreed to three years of funding to move things a long – at $30m per annum.


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