New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian stressed the importance of speaking more than one language and announced an effort to boost pupils’ foreign language learning.
speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald At the Schools Summit on Thursday, Ms Berejiklian said she was ‘incredibly supportive’ of every child achieving a second language and spoke of the benefits that come from the learning experience.
Ms Berejiklian said increasing language teaching was something “we need to look at as a nation” subject to the findings of a thorough review of the NSW curriculum.
“In most places in the world, students inherently have at least two languages and I think that’s something we need to explore as well,” she said.
“If you talk about logical thinking in math, it’s been shown that if you have good language skills, you can actually translate that into basic fundamentals.”
Language skills are increasingly in demand by employers. Research has also found that students who learn one language perform better elsewhere, exhibiting better problem-solving abilities.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has ranked Australia at the bottom of 34 advanced economies for graduates leaving secondary school with a second language.
Census data also showed a growing number of people speaking only English at home.
In New South Wales, students must complete 100 hours of foreign language study in the early years of high school. In Victoria, languages are taught from Kindergarten to Grade 6.