Students at public schools across Western Australia will be able to learn Hindi, Korean and Tamil in two years’ time, with the state government announcing it is diversifying its Asian language offerings.
WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery on Thursday announced the development of the three new language programs, which will begin in July and become available to students in 2023.
“We have an internationally diverse culture in Western Australia and these new subjects will give schools the opportunity to offer a broader choice to students in their local area,” she said.
Every public school student across the state in Years 3 to 6 will learn a language this year.
More than 190 languages are spoken throughout the state overall, according to the government.
“Linguistic diversity is one of Western Australia’s greatest strengths and provides social, cultural and economic benefits,” Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia said.
Mr Papalia said the new courses will work alongside the government’s Community Languages Program, which provides support and funding for language programs in the community.
“Today’s announcement means dedicated students of these programs will now have an opportunity to expand their learning in a school environment,” he said.
Ms Ellery said WA’s engagement with Asia is a “state priority” and that the new subjects will also help to set up students for future work.
The pre-primary – WA’s first year of compulsory schooling – to Year 10 syllabuses for Hindi and Korean will be adapted from curriculum developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. The Year 11 and 12 syllabuses for those languages will be developed in WA.
The Tamil syllabus, meanwhile, will be fully developed in WA.
A fraction over 75 per cent of the 2.47 million people in WA at the time of the 2016 Census spoke English at home.
Other languages included Mandarin (1.9 per cent), Italian (1.2 per cent), Vietnamese (0.8 per cent) and Cantonese (0.8 per cent).