Primary and secondary school teachers of Indonesian were honoured at a gala dinner hosted by the Balai Bahasa Indonesia (BBI-ACT) at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on Friday, 20 October 2017. Teachers and School Principals from at least 15 ACT government and non-government schools attended the dinner which an opportunity to exchange classroom experiences teaching Indonesian to students in Canberra. Certificates of Appreciation were handed out to 10 Indonesian Language Teaching Assistants who give up time outside their own academic studies in Canberra tertiary institutions to teach in Canberra schools under a MOU between the ACT Education Directorate and the Indonesian Embassy. Guests were treated to a three-course Indonesian meal, Balinese gamelan music performed by local enthusiasts and traditional Indonesian dances. They heard a keynote address by Bapak Halim Nataprawira from the Queensland Department of Education who delivered an insightful presentation on the use of formal versus informal Bahasa Indonesia.
BBI (ACT) Chair, Heath McMichael, told guests it was important for young people to develop an understanding of Asian cultures and languages in an increasingly Asia-centric world. Asia-literacy was a vital commodity for those contemplating carriers in commerce, overseas education and travel in Asia. To promote an awareness of Indonesian culture and language, BBI (ACT) organised activities for members and the general public, for example Indonesian film nights, book club events and study tours of Indonesia for teachers of Indonesian.
Heath said that BBI (ACT) was keen to see more school students learning Indonesian in the ACT. BBI (ACT) would continue to work with teachers, schools, the education authorities and the Indonesian Embassy to stimulate interest in taking up the Indonesian language.