On 22 May 2017, BBI (ACT) Board members farewelled Bpk Ronny Nur, the Indonesian Embassy’s Cultural Attache at a dinner in Canberra. Pak Ronny, a member of the BBI (ACT) Board, was praised for his energetic efforts to promote the teaching of Indonesian in schools and universities in the ACT and throughout Australia. BBI (ACT) Chair, Heath McMichael, thanked Pak Ronny for his efforts in support of BBI (ACT)’s mandate to foster the learning of Indonesian and understanding of Indonesian culture within the broad community. Heath noted Pak Ronny had lent BBI (ACT) valuable assistance in organising events at the Embassy’s Balai Kartini, for example, the Women in Poetry evening in 2014 and dinners for Indonesian language teachers in 2015 and 2016. Vice Chair, George Quinn, said Pak Ronny’s contribution to a deeper understanding of Indonesian culture within Australia were recognised throughout Australia. Board member, Amrih Widodo, said Pak Ronny, a trained scientist, had set a very high benchmark for future Cultural Attaches at the Indonesian Embassy. All board members wished Pak Ronny well in his new role at the Agriculture Institute in Bogor. In thanking the Board, Pak Ronny said he regarded Australia with great warmth as his second home. He looked forward to visiting Canberra from time to time when he visited Armidale in NSW as a visiting professor at the University of New England.
Selamat jalan Pak Ronny!
BBI (ACT) Board members farewell Pak Ronny
Pak Ronny saying farewell to Board members
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The achievements of primary and secondary school teachers of the Indonesian language were once again celebrated at a dinner hosted by Balai Bahasa Indonesia (ACT) at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on 4 November 2016. At least 10 ACT Schools were represented at the dinner which provided teachers and school principals the opportunity to exchange classroom experiences teaching Indonesian to students in Canberra. Specially invited guests included five Indonesian Language Teacher Assistants who give up time outside their own academic studies in Canberra tertiary institutions to teach in classrooms under their supervising teachers.
BBI (ACT) Chair, Heath McMichael, told guests the task of encouraging young people to take up and persevere with Indonesian language and culture studies is a challenging one, especially in the light of ingrained community indifference about Australia’s nearest Asian neighbour. Heath said that BBI (ACT) was willing to assist teachers, principals, and ACT education authorities promote the learning of Indonesian in order to maintain much-needed ballast in the people-to-people relationship between the two countries. BBI (ACT) is looking at practical and inventive ways to stimulate interest in Indonesian language learning, for instance in workshopping Indonesian curriculum materials with teachers and educators from schools in Canberra and Indonesia, organising teacher field trips to schools in eastern Indonesia and, hosting a YouTube Indonesian language competition.
BBI (ACT) Chair, Heath McMichael with Indonesian Language Teacher Assistants (ILTAs), 4 November 2016
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/
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)