NSW Labor has announced the largest ever funding boost to the Community Language Schools in NSW – which will provide more support and resources to students, teachers and volunteers who attend and operate the over 32 Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi schools across the state.
Under a Labor Government, funding for these schools will be boosted by more than $75 per student to $200 per student – leaving NSW Community Language Schools with the largest funding package of any state in Australia.
“The subcontinent community is indispensable to life in NSW, with migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka truly helping to define what it means to be Australians. I am proud that Labor will boost support for these language schools that I know parents value so much,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said.
“Learning a second language is one of the most intellectually fulfilling pursuits a person can undertake. Bilingualism is good for both individual happiness and our country as a whole.
“Foreign language study helps equip our young people for work in a globalised economy – and of course helps children communicate with older relatives and retain a connection with their heritage. It is fantastic so many schools around the state are helping young kids improve their language skills.”
Community Language Schools offer classes in 56 different community languages and are open to any school-aged student from a government, Catholic or independent school. The classes are held outside normal school hours and help students learn and use their community language or learn a new language.
“Labor has great respect for Community Language Schools and the work of the 2500 teachers – as well as family and community members – who educate tens of thousands of students each year,” Mr Robertson said.
“In Government Labor created the best funded Community Language School system in the nation, and I’m pleased to announce that a Robertson Labor Government will return our state to that status.
“Labor’s $2.5 million funding boost will support these subcontinent language schools attract and retain teachers with specialist language skills to continue educating the students who attend these schools in areas like Girraween and Marrickville.”
Shadow Minister for Education Ryan Park said: “Labor is committed to ensuring that students and families from different cultural backgrounds have an opportunity to develop their skills in a second language.
“Labor’s funding pledge will mean that the over 240 Community Language Schools in NSW will be the best funded in Australia – a clear indication that Labor is committed to our multi-cultural communities and improving language skills.”
Shadow Minister for Communities and Citizenship Guy Zangari added: “As a nation built by migrants, languages are critical to maintaining ties between the many countries from which Australians come.
“There are over 2500 teachers, family and community members who educate tens of thousands of students each year– and this added funding will reflect the importance of Community Language Schools in our multicultural society.”