In a move to bolster language education and foster cultural connections, the federal government has committed $15 million over a span of two years to establish the Community Language Schools grant program.
This initiative fulfils the aims to facilitate the learning of languages other than English among children.
The program, announced by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, underscores the significance of linguistic diversity and cross-cultural understanding.
Supporting Community Language Schools
Under the new Community Language Schools grant program, eligible community language schools will have access to grants amounting to up to $30,000 over two years. These grants are intended to aid in various aspects of language education, including:
- Expansion of Classes to Pre-School-Aged Children: Recognising the benefits of early language acquisition, the program supports the extension of language classes to preschool-aged children, laying the foundation for lifelong language proficiency.
- Resource Acquisition: Community language schools can utilize the funds to acquire new resources, such as teaching materials and technology, enhancing the quality of language education.
- Enhancing Learning Environments: Grants can be used to improve the learning environment for students, creating spaces that are conducive to effective language learning.
- Cost Coverage: The program assists in covering operational costs like rent and teacher training, ensuring that language education remains accessible and sustainable.
- Fee-Relief for Disadvantaged Students: To promote inclusivity, the grants offer fee-relief options for disadvantaged students, ensuring that economic barriers do not hinder access to language education.
Celebrating Cultural Heritage
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, highlighted the significance of language as a bridge that connects individuals and cultures. He emphasised the government’s commitment to strengthening social bonds and cultural exchange through language learning.
“The younger someone starts learning another language, the easier it will be for them to pick it up, so we’ve included funding to support classes for pre-school aged children.
It’s an investment in their future, in Australia’s future as a proudly multicultural society.”
Minister Giles noted that by providing the means for younger generations to learn the languages and cultures of their ancestors, Australia’s rich multicultural tapestry is preserved and enriched.
Preserving Tradition through Community Language Schools
Community language schools play a vital role in preserving cultural heritage and nurturing a connection between young learners and the languages spoken by their families.
Stefan Romaniw OAM, Executive Director of Community Languages Australia, expressed his appreciation for the funding program, highlighting its role in assisting community language schools in covering operational costs and delivering language education programs nationwide.
“CLS play a significant role in the delivery of language education programs nationally. This funding will be of great assistance to schools in covering operational costs.
“Community Languages Australia welcomes the announcement of this funding program supporting community language schools (CLS)’ added Mr Romaniw.
With a history tracing back to 1857, there are now over 700 language schools across Australia, imparting knowledge in more than 85 languages to over 100,000 students. This new funding initiative acknowledges the importance of these institutions in maintaining linguistic traditions and fostering a sense of identity among younger generations.
Starting from September 1, interested community language schools can access further information about the Community Language Schools grant program and complete application forms on GrantConnect, the government’s grant information system available at www.grants.gov.au.
The application window is open from September 1 to October 9, 2023.
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