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Indonesian language learning thriving in our schools

Indonesian language learning thriving in our schools

Bahasa Indonesia is currently taught in 83 South Australian government schools. This equates to over 14,000 students from Reception – Year 12 learning the language of Indonesia, Australia’s closest Asian neighbour.

By adopting the Australian Curriculum the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) affirms that languages education is accessible to all Australian students. This has resulted in an annual increase in the number of students learning Indonesian language in South Australia and in 2018 there will again be an increase as more schools choose this language as their preferred, whole-school focused language program.

Language learning is an evolving and ongoing process which cannot happen in isolation from other parts of the curriculum. It is through the skill, dedication and expertise of over 125 Indonesian language teachers in South Australian government schools that Indonesian language learning is brought to life.

Students are able to continue linguistic development as they progress towards language proficiency while exploring the rich diversity of Indonesian culture. Through language education students increase their understanding of Indonesia as a country and the role its national language plays to a diversely language-rich nation.

Developing cultural awareness of Indonesia occurs when students are exposed to aspects of Indonesian performing, moving and visual arts, social issues, religion, cuisine, historical events, knowledge of government, tourism, finance, environment and the cultural diversity of contrasting ethnic groups.

DECD ensures there is a learning pathway for all students undertaking languages education, endeavouring to provide a continuum of learning from Reception to Year 12 and beyond. Should a school not be offering a student’s language of choice, such as Indonesian, alternative curriculum-choice options are available to all DECD students. This may include studying Indonesian through the School of Languages or in distance education mode with Open Access College.

In 2016, 25 of our most senior DECD students studied Indonesian language to Year 12 level, with 2 of these students achieving an A grade as part of their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

Since 2013, 18 South Australian government schools have strengthened ties with Indonesia from the establishment of E-Languages Sister School Partnerships. These have been achieved by linking DECD schools with Indonesian schools and their communities. The aim of these partnerships is to establishing authentic digital interaction between the students in Indonesian language, while developing intra-cultural and inter-cultural understandings. These important partnerships are established with a view to sustaining long-term relationships between the two schools and focus on the innovative use of digital technology. Benefits to students include improved knowledge and first-hand experience of a culture different from their own. Teachers, in turn, are able to share pedagogy and curriculum, increase language proficiency, strengthen professional learning through the exchange of knowledge and ideas and expand educational horizons through global perspectives. In 2017 a further 8 schools will formalise E-Languages Sister School Partnerships with schools in West Java, Indonesia.

Indonesian language continues to thrive in South Australian schools through the creative and devoted guidance of our Indonesian language teachers. In 2017 DECD is again the proud sponsor of the Indofest in Schools Program.

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