Funding boost for little Victorian linguists
Children with a language other than English will soon get extra support to “help learn their mother tongue” the Victorian Government has said, outlining a $7.5 million funding boost for community language schools.
The announcement has significance for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in that up until this injection of funds, community language schools were only accessible by school-aged children.
The additional funding will allow preschool children to also participate, with 22 schools already registering their interest to roll out the program to younger children.
Preschoolers were being included, the Government said, because of the “demonstrated benefits” arising from having children learn to speak their mother tongue at a young age. The roll-out is part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen community language schools, with a number of new schools opening across Victoria, including schools which will support children to learn Nepali, Nuba and Uyghur.
The amount of funding available for each child has also increased, moving from $215 to $245, helping to meet the growing demand for places at these schools, with the number of students increasing by more than 3,500 since 2015 to almost 39,000 in 2019.
Peak body Community Language Victoria will also benefit from the announcement, with funding to improve professional development for staff working at community language schools.
Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino said community language schools were becoming more and more popular.
“These schools do amazing work with some of our newest Victorians, helping them learn their mother tongue so they can better connect with their cultural background,” Mr Merlino said.
To learn more about the Community Languages Program, please see here.