The Greek Consulate in Melbourne will write to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) next week – appealing for the inclusion of Modern Greek in a curriculum pathway that is targeted at Second Language Learners, and not the pathway ACARA is proposing – which pitches Greek only to learners who have a perceived understanding of the language.

The letter – to be signed by community and educational organisations involved with Greek language education across Australia – maintains that Greek should join the same learner pathway as French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, and should not be consigned to the Background Learners pathway. Mr Vassilios Gogas, Education Coordinator at the Consulate, said that the letter to the chairman of ACARA – Professor Barry McGaw, states the Authority’s proposal as it stands “has serious implications for students and for the future of Modern Greek in the Australian Curriculum.” The letter maintains that all students – regardless of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds – should be encouraged to learn Modern Greek in Australia, and that placing Greek in the Second Language Learners pathway would “address the long-standing erroneous perception that Greek is only available to – and being taught to – students who use Modern Greek as a language at home.

” Mr Gogas told Neos Kosmos that the Consulate had engaged in consultations across Australia with teachers associations, the Archdiocese and Greek community organisations, all of whom are signatories to the letter to ACARA. “What we are saying is that learning Modern Greek is beneficial not only for students who have a Greek background, but for all students,” said Mr Gogas. The letter to Professor McGaw draws on data from the 2011 Census, which recorded that 44 per cent of those who declared themselves of ‘Greek ancestry’ were second-generation Australian and 24 per cent were third generation.

26 per cent also stated ‘another ancestry’. “In other words, although cultural tradition within the Australian Hellenic community remains strong, English is the dominant language amongst learners of Modern Greek in primary and secondary education.” “We need Modern Greek to be addressed to everyone, as a second language,” said Mr Gogas. “Greek is the mother of the European languages, together with Latin it’s a heritage language and should be open for everyone.” Mr Gogas added that a further step in persuading ACARA to include Greek in the Second Language Learners pathway would be to seek political support, and that Greek community organisations could play an important role by lobbying MPs.