What the Asian Century means for your child

What is the Asian Century?

With Asia's rise on the world stage in what is being called the ˜Asian Century', the Australian Government has released a White Paper listing a number of goals to be achieved by 2025 in order for Australia to develop stronger ties with Asia.

It argues that Australia's economic future depends on its ability to form strong diplomatic and economic connections within the Asia-Pacific region, and that one of the key ways to do this is to ensure that the Australian education systemproduces future leaders who are ˜Asia-literate'.

According to the White Paper, incorporating an increased focus on Asian studies and Asian languages into the school curriculum will mean that current kindergarten students will graduate from high school with a ˜sound working knowledge of Asia'.

While many critics believe these goals represent a mammoth task due to the low numbers currently studying an Asian language at school through to Year 12, the White Paper has also been met with praise and excitement.

At the very least, the White Paper presents a good argument for students and their parents to consider the advantages that Asian studies and Asian languages could pose to future employment prospects in the Asian Century.

What does the Asian Century mean for your child?

  • The government will aim to ensure that Australia's school system is in the top five in the world and that ten Australian universities are in the world's top 100 by 2025.
  • Asian studies will be implemented as a core part of the Australian school curriculum.
  • All students will have ˜continuous access' to a priority Asian language, including Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese.
  • All schools will engage with at least one school in Asia to support the teaching of a priority Asian language.

How will the Asian Century goals be implemented?

In order to implement these goals by 2025, the government intends to continue its implementation of the Australian Curriculum, which stresses the importance of Asian studies; develop methods to track whether Australian students are increasing their knowledge of Asia; and work collaboratively with states, territories and non-government education authorities to develop comprehensive schemes for Asia to become a core part of the curriculum.

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