Posted by: mel | May 29, 2009

Australia to fund Indon language teaching assistants

ANTARA News | 28 May 2009

Brisbane (ANTARA News) – The ACT Department of Education and Training (DET), the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Catholic Education Office have pledged to provide 24,000 Australia dollars to support Indonesian language teaching assistants, an Indonesian government official said.

“This funding will do much to improve the quality of Bahasa Indonesia teaching in the ACT,” Education and Cultural Attache of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Dr.Aris Junaidi, told ANTARA here Thursday.

In 2008, the Indonesian embassy and DET worked together to run a pilot program where Indonesian native-speakers were assigned to four ACT schools to assist their Indonesian language teaching classes. The scheme was currently being expanded to cover 14 state and privately-run schools, he said.

“The program helps Australian school students improve their language skills, as they are able to learn directly from a native speaker. We have had great feedback about the program so far, with local teachers saying that their students are very excited about welcoming the Indonesian teaching assistants into the classroom,” he said.

The program also generated benefits for Indonesia because most of the teaching assistants were Indonesians currently undertaking postgraduate studies in Canberra, Dr.Junaidi said.

With their involvement in the teaching activities, they were not only able to learn much about Australian culture but also teaching methods that they could bring back to Indonesia later, he said.

In the past, the pilot program was financed entirely by the Indonesian embassy, but it was now jointly funded. The DET and the Catholic Education office received funding for the program from the Australian federal government under the “National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program” (NALSSP).

The NALSSP would provide 62.4 million dollars of funding over three years to promote the teaching and study of Asian languages in Australian schools. “Indonesian is one of four Asian languages targeted under the scheme, along with Chinese, Japanese and Korean,” Junaidi said.

“This is an exciting time for Indonesian studies in Australia. There is a lot of support from both the ACT and Australian governments. I am proud that the embassy is able to help promote the study of Indonesian language and culture in ACT schools through the teaching assistants program,” he said.

Currently 25 ACT schools teach Indonesian. Despite significant declining of number of students studying Indonesian language over recent years, Indonesian remains the third most widely taught language in the ACT public schools

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