A Strategy Cut-short: The NALSAS Strategy for Asian languages in Australia
Henderson, Deborah J. (2007) A Strategy Cut-short: The NALSAS Strategy for Asian languages in Australia. e-FLT Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 4(S.1), pp. 4-22.
This paper examines the first national attempt to establish the study of Asian languages and cultures in the Australian education system. The National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) Strategy was based on the recommendations of a report commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 1992, Asian Languages and Australia's Economic Future (1994). The Report detailed a strategic framework for the implementation of an Asian languages and cultures program in Australian schools. This paper proposes that the Report was unprecedented in the history of policy efforts to teach Asian languages in Australia. It then analyses the Report’s focus on language study, its reception and implementation during its first quadrennium. It argues that despite some shortcomings, the Report’s implementation from 1995-1998 was significant in establishing formative foundations for Asian language study in Australia. This paper proposes that although progress towards targets was made during the second quadrennium, the Howard government’s decision to cut the Commonwealth’s funding commitment for this long term Strategy in 2002 was inappropriate at a time when Australia’s engagement with the nations of Asia was increasingly significant.
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