With Modern Greek about to be launched as part of Australia’s national curriculum, many are contemplating the place of Ancient Greek in the syllabus.
Work has already begun on creating the program for next round of languages that will be offered in the national curriculum, and Ancient Greek is one of them.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) says they have received funding from the government to develop the year 7-10 program for Ancient Greek, Latin and AUSLAN (sign language). But a working program is still far off.
“It is anticipated that the curriculum for Ancient Greek will be published in December 2016,” an ACARA spokesperson told Neos Kosmos.
The inclusion of Ancient Greek as one of the eleven languages being offered has not been met with much support from some parliamentarians.
Labor senator Sue Lines suggested that it was a waste of taxpayer’s money considering only 42 year 12 students across the country are currently learning Ancient Greek.
The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) offers ancient Greek classes to year 7-9s, VCE students and adults.
GOCMV’s coordinator for classical languages and adult courses, Alexandros Giannadakis, says there is scope for Ancient Greek to become more popular but admits it has a lot of hurdles.
The language first has to be picked by the school’s principal.
“I don’t think principals will be happy to include Ancient Greek in their curriculum,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
“The big problem for the principals will be how to find teachers. In Victoria there are just 4-5 teachers.”
“And I don’t think students will choose that subject by themselves, because it has a lot of grammar.”
Education ministers in the states and territories argue that introducing languages in the primary school stage will increase numbers of students taking it on till the final year of high school.
Mr Giannadakis says the complexity of the language will make it tough for students to enjoy it at an early age.
“I don’t think it should be included for primary school students,” he admits.
“My opinion is it should start from year 7, but if we teach simple things, for example, just for the students to get an idea of the classical language and to make it as simple as possible then yes, it could be taught in primary school.”
He believes there is hope that schools already teaching Modern Greek might be more open to including Ancient Greek as well, enabling it to be marketed along the same lines as Latin, an already popular language at year 12 level.
With very high mark-up rates, Ancient Greek might have the potential of attracting many students outside the Greek Australian community.
Mr Giannadakis says Ancient Greek is useful to students of any cultural background.
“You will have a better vocabulary, you will learn to organise your thoughts because Ancient Greek is a very organised language, it’s a very logical language, and when you go to visit museums and archaeological sites you will be able to understand what the signs say.”