NSW Federation of Community Language Schools CEO Michael Christodoulou AM applauded the NSW Government’s decision to allocate $10.18 million to schools and strengthen NSW’s rich mosaic of multiculturalism.
Announced on Wednesday, Education and Early Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell said the 587 community language schools across the state are essential to serving the thriving multicultural community.
“NSW is the most culturally diverse state in the country and we are proud to embrace the many languages and cultures that contribute to our society,” Ms Mitchell said.
Talk to The Greek HeraldMichael Christodoulou AM revealed that he has an upcoming meeting with the government to determine where it would be more appropriate to allocate the funds and how to get the most out of them.
“It’s definitely for the industry, whether it’s upskilling teachers or technology that I don’t know yet. But that’s what we’re going to push. To ensure that this money is distributed accordingly,” Christodoulou said, adding that the majority of funds will go to benefit children.
“We are very happy that both governments are involved and helping community language schools.
The funding was announced at the Foundation’s 2021 Annual Gala Dinner at Bankstown Sports Club, which also included messages from the Prime Minister and Premier of NSW.
In announcing the funding, Multiculturalism Minister Natalie Ward thanked the 3,210 community language school volunteer teachers who taught 62 different languages to students in the after-school program last year.
Christodoulou meanwhile said that the Federation currently deals with the teaching of 87 different languages. Of Greek descent, Christodoulou said the Hellenic language is one of the most important taught in schools.
“In community language schools, students actually learn languages. Governments have understood this and that is why they are investing more money,” added Christodoulou.
The CEO added that over the past three years across Australia, the Community Languages Program has gained $30 million, plus an increase in per capita student funding of a further $40 million.
“So you’re talking about 70 million adverts just for our sector here in NSW.”
Christodoulou then thanked the Premier of New South Wales and the Australian state and federal governments for their contributions to the sector.
“If you go to many other countries around the world, I can assure you that they don’t give money for students to learn their own native languages. So we are very happy and very lucky that governments think like that. »
“Gladys Berejiklian, as she said in her message the other day, she is from a community language school because she went to an Armenian school. So she understands it. »
The Federation recently provided two fifty-dollar gift cards for purchases at IGA supermarkets to each of the young Thai, Nepali, Greek and Portuguese speakers who came forward asking for help.
Federation President Lucia Johns, who distributed the aid at the organization’s headquarters in Dulwich Hill, said: “Many of these young people remain hidden victims of the pandemic, even 18 months after it started. Their financial situation has become extremely difficult as a lot of casual work has disappeared.
“The fact that dozens of young people have come to our office asking for help tells me that they are in great need of support. I was particularly concerned about the number of young women with babies asking for help,” she said.
Asked about the Foundation’s next steps for the future, Christodoulou revealed that they were in talks with the federal government to help build community language schools.
“We would like our teachers to improve. This is the number one priority. We want them to go digital if they could, because students today prefer digital over old school education.
“In the next two years, you’re going to hear a lot more things this way, for all of our schools. Our President Lucia Johns, and I as CEO, are very pleased with the announcement the other day and look forward to hearing more announcements over the next 12 months.