A Shorten Labor Government will award 100 scholarships a year to Australian school teachers so they can further develop their Asian language skills.
The scholarships, worth up to $20,000 each, will allow our teachers to get advanced language experience in Asian countries.
Recipients will be able to use their scholarships for things such as intensive Asian language courses, or teaching opportunities in Asian schools.
Asia has the fastest growing middle class in the world, right on our doorstop.
That means the economic opportunities for Australia in the Asian Century are immense.
But to seize them, we must strengthen our understanding of the history, cultures, and languages of our neighbours.
Currently, Australia is not doing well enough on Asian language proficiency.
For example, more Australian school students were studying Indonesian in 1972 than they are today.
Labor’s Asian Century Teaching Scholarship Program is designed to help fix that.
All qualified Australian school teachers who teach an Asian language will be eligible to apply.
We will work with teachers, their professional organisations, and unions to ensure everyone gets the most out of the scholarships.
The program will cost $21 million over the decade and be delivered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education.
Labor will fund this policy through announced improvements to the Budget, including not proceeding with the new baby bonus, capping VET FEE HELP loans, and not proceeding with the tax cut for multinational companies.
In government, Labor released the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper - a comprehensive, long-term plan for Australia’s engagement in our region.
It included an ambition for Asian literacy and languages to become a core part of the Australian school system. Sadly, the vision of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper was abandoned by the Liberals but replaced with nothing.
Only Labor has a plan for Australia to make the most of the opportunities of the Asian Century.
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON KATE ELLIS MP
SHADOW MINSTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD
MEMBER FOR ADELAIDE