Working together to build Asia literacy
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
Business leaders, academic experts and leaders in Asian education non-government groups today joined School Education Minister Peter Garrett at the second Ministerial Roundtable on Asian Literacy.
The roundtable focused on the Gillard Government’s Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and discussed how government, business and the education sector can work together to increase Asian literacy and Asian language proficiency in our schools.
“If the White Paper objectives are to be realised for school education, we will not only require these partnerships, but we also need to start a conversation in our communities about what it means to be an Asia literate workforce for the Asian Century,” Mr Garrett said.
"Discussions this morning included strategies to communicate to Australian parents and our communities the benefits of studying Asian language and having a deeper understanding of Asian cultures.
“Business leaders also emphasised the importance employers place on prospective employees having Asia literacy as a 21st century skill.
"This is an important area for us to consider and I'm pleased, following these fruitful discussions, that we will convene a third roundtable early next year to continue to drive this agenda forward.”
Under the National Plan for School Improvement the Gillard Government has set a goal for Australia to be among the top five schooling systems in the world by 2025 for reading, science and maths.
“The quality of Australia’s education and our economic productivity are intrinsically linked. Lifting up every child by improving every school is the best way to create a more productive, fairer and wealthier country,” Mr Garrett said.
“The growth in the economies of nations like China, India and Indonesia will provide fantastic opportunities for Australian businesses, and help create thousands of high-tech, high-skill and high wage jobs for Australians.
“To benefit from these opportunities, Australians must have a better understanding of the languages, cultures and history of our Asian neighbours. This work needs to start in our schools.
"I look forward to continuing these discussions and working with businesses, schools and Asia educators as we move toward meeting our goals for the Asian Century and implementing the National Plan for School Improvement."
Today’s roundtable in Melbourne was facilitated by Asialink and was attended by universities, industry groups and corporate leaders from their board.
The White Paper is available at: http://asiancentury.dpmc.gov.au/