Victoria Minister for Education Martin Dixon
Languages Assistants Bring The World To Schools
Victor P Taffa
Thousands of Victorian students in 67 schools across the state will learn a language alongside native speakers in 2013.
Education Minister Martin Dixon today welcomed 23 languages assistants from China, nine from France, seven from Germany, three from Japan, and two from Spain to Victoria.
“The languages assistants program literally brings the world to Victorian schools.” Mr. Dixon said.
“I am sure that each and every one of our languages assistants will do fantastic work in developing the language skills of Victorian students, while providing real world insights into their home countries and cultures.”
“The Victorian Coalition Government has made a strong commitment to languages education. The teaching and learning of languages in our schools is not an optional extra for students, it is essential.” Mr. Dixon said.
“We want all students to be given the opportunity to learn a language and to achieve proficiency in that language. We want Victoria to have one of the worlds most diverse and effective languages education programs.”
Mr. Dixon said learning a language was more than simply the skill of being able to speak another language.
“The process is as important as the outcome. The obvious outcome is that children learn another language, but going through the process strengthens a student’s skills in their first language.” Mr. Dixon said.
Mr. Dixon said the year-long languages assistants program is a key part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s plan to ensure that every Victorian government school student from Prep to Year 10 is learning a language by 2025, starting with Prep in 2015.
Demand for languages assistants is growing, with more than 100 schools applying for an assistant in 2013.
At a welcome ceremony today at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Inga Peulich acknowledged the incredible value of the assistants.
“These languages assistants not only provide hands-on support with pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, they also bring skills in ICT, dance, drama, music and sport into their school communities.” Ms. Peulich said.
Languages assistants are mostly recent university graduates in their home countries. The Chinese assistants receive a stipend from the Chinese Government and the remaining assistants’ salaries are paid by the Victorian Coalition Government.