Business Alliance for Asia Literacy
We do our children a deep disservice if we fail to equip them with knowledge of the cultures and the languages of not only the fastest growing region in the world, but the region that is on our doorstep. (Business leaders to Members of Parliament, March 2011).
The Business Alliance for Asia Literacy calls on schools, school communities, education systems, and on our Governments to ensure that:
- Asia skills and Asian languages are a core part of Australian curriculum
- delivery of this is adequately funded
- senior students are given incentives to take up Asia studies and Asian languages
- teachers are equipped and available to teach Asia skills
Donʼt drop Asia in schools: Business urges Government
A group of leading Australian business figures is urging the Federal Government not to drop its Asia studies and languages program, due to end this year. In letters addressed to all 226 Federal MPs, the group says Australiaʼs future “depends on a bipartisan approach to our understanding of and relationship with Asia.” The letters are signed by high profile business leaders as part of an Asialink initiative calling for bi-partisan support of Asian studies and Asian languages in Australian schools.
The business leaders write that Australia will risk its wealth, harmony and security unless significant government investment goes to equipping the next generation of Australians to compete in the ‘Asian Century’.
They say students must be equipped with the knowledge of the cultures and the languages of not only the fastest growing region in the world, but the region that is on our doorstep.
The letter asks MPs to encourage the study of Asia in schools and to support all Federal and State Ministers of Education in their commitment to include Asia as a priority across the curriculum and at all levels of schooling.
Signatories of the letter are:
- Sid Myer, Chairman of Asialink
- Justin Breheny, Chief Executive Officer Asia, Insurance Australia Group
- Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman of J.P. Morgan Australia and New Zealand
- Hugh Morgan AC, Principal, First Charnock
- Heather Ridout, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group
- Maria Tarrant, Acting Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia
- Frank Tudor, Chairman and National President, Australia China Business Council
- John Walker AM, Chairman of the Australia Korea Business Council
Joint letter to Government MPs calling for continued Asia focus in school language and cultural studies [pdf]
Joint letter to Opposition MPs calling for continued Asia focus in school language and cultural studies [pdf]
Towards an Asia ready workforce
A major new Australia Industry Group/Asialink survey, citing gaps in expertise on Asia at the highest levels of Australian industry, calls for Federal and State investment in a National Asia Literacy Plan. Engaging Asia: Getting it right for Australian Business, was launched by Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson in Canberra on 2 March 2011.
The survey finds more than half of Australian businesses currently operating in Asia have little board and senior management experience of Asia and/or Asia skills or languages.
The Current State of Asian Language Education
Four Languages, Four Stories [pdf]
In 2009, the Australian Government commissioned the Asia Education Foundation to research and produce detailed reports outlining the current situation in Australian schools with relation to three of the languages targeted by the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program – Indonesian, Japanese and Korean. Chinese had already been the subject of such a study in 2008 by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Melbourne Confucius Institute.
See the Full Reports available on the Asia Education Foundation's website.
Studies of Asia in Year 12, by Jenny Wilkinson and Gina Milgate, April 2009, ACER [pdf]
This report analysed the extent to which students completed Year 12 subjects with content or focus on Asia using a sample of predominantly tertiary entrance subjects that included: English, History, Geography, International Studies, Politics, and Arts.