Indonesian Teachers Applauded in Canberra Schools

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Teachers of Indonesian language in Canberra schools hosted at dinner by Balai Bahasa Indonesia (ACT) 11.9.15

The outstanding achievements of primary and secondary school teachers of the Indonesian language were honoured at a dinner hosted by the Balai Bahasa Indonesia (‘Indonesian Language Pavilion’) in Canberra on 11 September 2015. Around 40 past and present teachers exchanged classroom experiences teaching Indonesian at the function held at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra. BBI (ACT) Chair and master of ceremonies for the dinner, Heath McMichael, told guests the challenge of promoting Indonesian language and culture in Australia is one not just for governments but for all community members who wanted to turn around the decline in the numbers of students taking up Asian languages. Addressing the dinner, Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, said the teaching of Indonesian in Australian schools added ballast to people-to-people relations between the two countries. BBI (ACT) hopes to recreate the warmth and camaraderie of the occasion at future events celebrating the efforts of teachers in line with its goal to promote Indonesian language and culture in the ACT and beyond.

Do you teach Indonesian or intend to become a teacher of Indonesian? Apply now for an Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship

The Australian government is calling for applications for Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowships for 2013. The Fellowship provides in-country training for language teachers over three weeks in one of ten countries. It covers the cost of return airfares, accommodation, tuition, some meals, field trips and cultural activities in the coutnry of the language you teach.

The Indonesian option will be conducted by the Indonesia Australia Language Foundation in Denpasar, Bali, in January 2013. The program has an intensive language study component backed up with cultural studies and field trips around the island of Bali.

For more information go to: http://www.eltf.austraining.com.au/

 

In Australia, talking about foreign language study is much more popular than talking the languages themselves: Bernard Lane

The current state of Chinese language studies in Australian schools illustrates the challenge the country faces in promoting Asian language study among English speakers. Currently just 3 per cent of Year 12 students take Mandarin and 94 per cent of these are of Chinese background.

This sobering statistic is cited by Bernard Lane in an opinion piece on Asian language study in Australia in The Australian (June 6, 2012, Higher Education p.28). He points to the “dismal failure” of the four-year National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) that has disbursed $62 million and winds up this year.

In a new effort to address the lack of demand for foreign language studies, Schools Education Minister Peter Garrett has ”asked a gourp of business leaders and Asia literacy experts to find new ways to stimulate the interest of pupils and parents.” But, argues Lane, it is difficult for proponents of foreign language studies to identify immediate tangible benefits that flow from command of a foreign language. He advocates “a good mix of languages patiently and cleverly built up from the earliest years of school.”

Read the full text of Bernard Lane’s opinion piece at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/opinion/picking-the-next-language-winner-is-for-losers/story-e6frgcko-1226385344723 (login required to a personal account with The Australian)

“Send 10,000 young Australians a year to Indonesia to learn Indonesian,” says security analyst Professor Hugh White

One of Australia’s leading security analysts, the ANU’s Professor Hugh White, has taken the Australian government and people to task for their neglect of Indonesia (The Age, May 29, 2012). Australia is too preoccupied with “a kaleidoscope of negative images” he says, and is “missing the big story.” The big story is that Indonesia’s economy is growing so strongly it will likely be the fourth largest in the world by 2040. “Our big neighbour,” says White, “will then be three or four times richer than us. Already its GDP has overtaken ours by about 15 per cent.”

Professor White warns that Australians are kidding themselves if they think Indonesia needs Australian help to succeed. “No one likes receiving charity, especially from neighbours,” he writes. “Those who offer it are more often resented than thanked. In fact, the more Indonesia grows, the more our aid program damages rather than fosters the kinds of links we want with them.” White urges Australia to give Indonesia much higher priority in foreign policy.

Read the full text of Professor White’s views at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/indonesias-rise-is-the-big-story-were-missing-20120528-1zf72.html

In a related interview on ABC Radio (The World Today, May 22, 2012) Professor White calls for the establishment of a program to send 10,000 young Australians a year to Indonesia to learn Indonesian. “When young British people want to learn French, they go to France. When young Australians want to learn Bahasa, they should go to Indonesia.” he says. Australia should have “an imperative to build a relationship which maximises the chances that we can work together – that’s going to be in our interest as Indonesia becomes stronger.”

Read the text of Professor White’s remarks and listen to audio of his interview with the ABC’s Eleanor Hall at: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3508221.htm .

Many Australian employers do not value Indonesia literacy skills, Arjuna Dibley and Rebecca Cole report

“Where individuals are equipped with in-depth knowledge about Indonesia, they are able to work in the Indonesian economy in new and creative ways,” write Arjuna Dibley and Rebecca Cole in the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter web site (8 March, 2012). Both are members of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (http://www.facebook.com/AIYANational)

But a survey by the the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association has found that Australian employers often do not value or do not make use of employees with Indonesian-literacy skills. “For instance, 40% of AIYA’s respondents found that their Indonesian literacy was not valued by employers when they applied for jobs, with several employers considering this a strange area of study.”

Arjuna Dibley and Rebecca Cole are graduates of the Indonesian studies program at the Australian National University. Both have studied and worked in Indonesia. Read their opinion piece in full at: http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/03/08/Indonesia-literacy-in-decline.aspx

“Know Indonesia, know thyself”

In a thoughtful and eloquent article titled “Know Indonesia, know thyself” in The Interpreter (Lowy Institute), Ariel Heryanto argues that study of Indonesia and the Indonesian language is an affordable path to self-discovery for near-neighbour Australians. Command of a language, he says, is “not just about collecting more or new knowledge about other people, or greater control over relations with them.” It also means “participating in social relations in an extremely complex world of unequals.” It can be a path to self-discovery. “You cannot say you have mastered a new language if you have not discovered a brand new world, and your new self in it, through the experience of learning it.”

Ariel Heryanto is an Associate Professor in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. Read the full text of his article at:

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/category/Australia-in-the-Asian-Century.aspx