The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has proposed the inclusion of Modern Greek as one of the languages in the National Curriculum, in a draft shape paper released this week.
Since last year the Greek community has campaigned strongly for the inclusion of Modern Greek in the National School Curriculum as a language of economic, social and cultural importance to Australia.
Labor Member for Calwell, Maria Vamvakinou said this is a necessary step in the right direction. “I’ve always had the view we’ve needed to better harness language capacity,” Ms Vamvakinou told Neos Kosmos.
“I strongly believe it’s a useful resource to our country; as a former teacher I’m excited.” The inclusion of Modern Greek in the draft plan is a good outcome for the amount of effort that’s been invested, Ms Vamvakinou said. “I saw a lot of that effort on the ground, it went from the young to the elderly, which indicates its paramount importance to the Greek community.
“If it goes through the national curriculum it means Greek language remains accessible for Greek Australians as well as non Greek Australians, which is just as important.”
While ACARA is advising Greek should be included in the national curriculum, Labor Member for Hindmarsh, Steve Georganas, said lobbying for the language is critical now more than ever.
“The likelihood of Greek being in the curriculum is pretty good because this particular paper has come out advising it should be in there. However the need to lobby is vital over the next five weeks, just in case,” Mr Georganas told Neos Kosmos.
The Greek community, the Archdiocese, Greek schools and Neos Kosmos have all played a big role in campaigning for Modern Greek to be added to languages taught under the national curriculum, Mr Georganas said.
“I was absolutely blown away by the amount of lobbying; it’s been fantastic and it goes to show when we do work together we can really achieve things as a community in Australia.”
Education Minister Peter Garrett will make the final decision, taking into consideration advice from ACARA.
“To have a national curriculum with Greek being one of the top five languages, other than English, spoken in Australia would really be a great achievement for us,”
Mr Georganas said. Languages are also an important tool which would benefit Australia in trade and foreign affairs, Mr Georganas said.
“It’s something that’s under-utilised and I think that with Modern Greek being one of the top five languages in Australia and also now being in the national currciculum we could do more in that area in the relationship as nations between Australia and Greece in trade, foreign affairs and a whole range of other things,”
Mr Georganas said. The proposal will be open for submissions from the public until April 7, this year. Further information is available on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website at www.acara.edu.au