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Investing in languages: Western Australia funds over 50 community language schools

Up to 53 community language schools have been funded through the Western Australian Community Languages Program.

The Cook Government announced $718,867 to support 53 not-for-profit community language schools, which teach more than 7,300 students across the Western Australia.

The community language schools, run mostly by volunteers from diverse communities, teach Greek, Arabic, Kiswahili, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tamil, and Vietnamese among the many other languages.

Students from kindergarten- to year 12 will be supported through the program in 2023, including 50 students enrolled in the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE).

Two schools are being funded for the first time in 2023, with one new language to the program, Urdu, also being supported.

Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Dr Tony Buti said that the growth of the Community Languages Program over the past three years reveals the importance of investing in language diversity in Western Australia.

“The funding of new schools and languages in the Community Languages Program reflects the changing Western Australian population,” Dr Buti said.

The statement from the Cook Government said that Community Languages WA, will also provide professional development opportunities to more than 800 volunteer teachers and school administrators throughout the school year.

They include one-on-one mentor support from an experienced language educator are also provided through the program.

He pointed to opportunities for “teacher mentorship and professional development” which recognised the skills that community language teachers have, and their commitment to making a “positive difference in students’ lives.”

“Learning languages other than English helps create a better understanding and appreciation of different cultures, which are important qualities in building an interconnected, vibrant and inclusive multicultural society,” Dr Buti added.

The minister went on to say that the Cook Labor Government is “committed to strengthening language learning and cultural understanding” through initiatives like the WA Community Languages Program.

For more information: www.omi.wa.gov.au

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