Language education for all primary schools

A Foley Labor Government will introduce the compulsory study of languages into the kindergarten – year six curriculum.

Learning a second language is currently not compulsory in NSW primary schools.

We lag behind other states and countries when it comes to teaching languages in primary schools. Fewer than 40 per cent of our primary schools have a language program, whereas in Queensland and Victorian primary schools learning a language is part of the curriculum.

Our primary school children deserve every opportunity to get a head start in life to compete in an ever changing world.

This policy is about bringing NSW schools up to speed with other states and the rest of the world

Learning a second language in primary school enhances a student’s general cognitive, literacy and communication skills. It prepares them to continue their language education and progress with the best foot forward into a globalised employment market.

NSW is a multicultural society - creating a multilingual society will deliver significant social and economic benefits to NSW.

Australia’s close geographic and economic ties with nations like China and Japan will require more students to be equipped with an understanding of Asian languages. Our future economic prosperity relies on doing business in Asia, yet in NSW the number of students studying Asian languages is declining.

Learning a second language is compulsory in a number of Asian countries including Japan, China, South Korea and Thailand. Almost every country in Europe requires primary school age children to learn at least one second language – usually English.

It’s the role of the NSW Government to create a multilingual work force that can compete in our rapidly changing market place.

Labor will provide the resources and tools for every NSW primary school to facilitate second language teaching.