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Constituency Statements – National Curriculum

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Photo of Sophie MirabellaSophie Mirabella (Indi, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source

I rise this morning to speak on the importance of a national curriculum not only for parents and schools but importantly for the continuity of a child’s education. That is why the coalition began the process to establish a national curriculum while in government. The particular aspect of the scheme I want to address this morning is the addition of languages in the national curriculum—obviously languages in addition to English. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority will be considering the inclusion of languages as part of the national curriculum. These languages should be languages other than English. If we accept this as a given, we then must decide how we choose what languages should be included.

There must be a balance between the languages that are deemed priority for the perceived current commercial needs of Australia and the well established community languages. Language is the key to comprehending not just the words but the ideas and the spirit of other cultures. To understand more than one language is to possess a key to alternative thought processes and concepts. I speak in support of Modern Greek as part of the national curriculum. To understand Modern Greek is not only to understand the language but enables the learning of the mind-set and culture that formed the basis of Western civilisation. Modern Greek is in the top five languages that we speak in Australia. It is taught right across the nation. If we are fair dinkum and want to succeed in the teaching of languages other than English, we should not set ourselves up to fail. To ignore the available social infrastructure and support for the teaching of Modern Greek is, I think, to undermine the very concept of including languages other than English in the national curriculum.

We need to use existing language resources and capital within Australia if we are to maximise the teaching and learning of other languages. I believe that including a significant community language, like Modern Greek, in the national curriculum will go a significant way to achieving this. Of course, the inclusion of Modern Greek in the national curriculum would not exclude the inclusion of other community languages. We have a richness and diversity of language and culture in Australia. We need to select those obvious benefits to be part of the national curriculum. There is great support for this right across Australia and right across communities and I look forward to positive development in this area.


Written by Greg Naylor

26 February 2010 at 11:54 pm

Posted in PERSONAL

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