BILINGUAL indigenous language education should be introduced to all schools with Aboriginal students, and indigenous languages included as an official Closing the Gap measure, according to a parliamentary report to be released today.
Queensland Labor MP Shayne Neumann, the committee chairman, told The Australian the committee would back the controversial use of bilingual education and criticise its abolition in the Northern Territory by the previous Territory Labor government. He said education should be conducted in both languages to deliver the best outcomes. He said that in communities across the nation where English was not the first language, indigenous students had the right to learn in their own language.
The report calls for an emergency response to save the disappearing languages.
I would rather the report called for an emergency response to educate the kids in maths, science and English and apportioned their own indigenous language to one period a week. Of course I would change my mind the instant I hear that employers across Australia are now accepting job applications with resumes in Yolŋu.
But that isn’t happening soon.
Neuman continues to play Canute;
“There were 250 languages at the time of white settlement with only 18 now spoken by significant numbers of indigenous people,” he said.
And the Brits, our ancestors, once spoke Anglo-Norman French. The world changes for the better and the English language has been a big part of that.
It’s fine that the kids learn about their own history and language but not to the detriment of English. They need their own language to know where they come from but the need English to know where they are going and they aren’t going anywhere without it.