//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Australia’s Asian Century talk is empty; language funding falls short


Australia Asian CenturyIt’s supposed to be the Asian Century but educator Marnie Hughes-Warrington is having to turn away students keen to learn Asian languages such as Chinese and Hindi. It is a lesson in unintended consequences.

This year a new diploma was launched by the Australian National University, a languages powerhouse where Professor Hughes-Warrington is deputy vice-chancellor (academic).

The idea was that students could pick up “on the side” the language major impossible to fit into their degrees, especially in professional fields such as engineering or medicine. The diploma found a ready market, and ANU signed up 54 students across 13 languages. It sounded like a success story but for one awkward fact. The government gave ANU funding for only 26 student places — places that come with federal money for teaching. From the rest of those enrolled in the diploma, the university gets just the student HECS payment, which is not enough to cover costs, let alone fund expansion.

“And we have another 53 students who we’ve had to turn away because we don’t have enough places,” Professor Hughes-Warrington said. If the new languages program were a degree, the uncapped system would allow ANU to have as many subsidised places as it could fill, but it is a diploma that offers the flexibility to open up languages to a wider group of students.

“The federal government has pretty much put a moratorium on diploma places and that’s had the unforeseen consequence of putting a lid on language diploma enrolments,” Professor Hughes-Warrington said.

It’s a state of affairs hard to reconcile with the government’s Asian Century white paper, which promised to “support universities to increase the number of students who undertake Asian studies and Asian languages as part of their university education, including through increased use of the National Broadband Network and digital technology”.

Most of the new diploma students are on campus but Professor Hughes-Warrington hopes to go online with the white paper’s priority languages — Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese — within two to three years.

“Eighty per cent who want to do the diploma are wanting to do Asian languages,” she said.

“We are keen to open the diploma up to more and more people, and we want to co-operate with other universities to offer languages that they don’t have.”

Or won’t have. Language programs with small enrolments may be vulnerable to closure around the country as universities try to find $900 million in savings announced at the weekend by the government, whose competing Gonski reforms are supposed to strengthen languages in school.

“It’s a situation replete with irony,” said Professor Hughes-Warrington, who hopes that language students elsewhere will not need to be rescued by ANU.

“(If they do) the diploma is the way to pick them up because they can complete a bachelor degree at their own institution,” she said.

To expand the diploma, the university would like another 10 subsidised places this year, and 20 more next year. ANU has been putting its case to the Tertiary Education Minister’s office for some time. “Our sense is that the department is sympathetic but we’re on to our third minister now and we still haven’t had a response,” Professor Hughes-Warrington said.

A department spokesman said the government “supports universities’ efforts to sustain their language offerings (but) any decision to provide additional places for diploma courses will need to be taken in context of the 2013-14 budget”.

Source: The Australian – Talk of Asian Century just that as language funding falls short
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,948 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

It is nothing new for foreign firms to endure shakedowns by the Chinese Communist Party. As far back as revolutionary times, Chairman Mao’s victorious troops did not directly confiscate foreign-owned assets as their Bolshevik forerunners had done in Russia. Instead, they wore them down with higher taxes and fines so big that eventually companies gave […]

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia has suffered an “infiltration” that sought to advance the aims of China, the US non-profit organisation that owns the volunteer-edited encyclopaedia has said. The Wikimedia Foundation told BBC News the infiltration had threatened the “very foundations of Wikipedia”. The foundation banned seven editors linked to a mainland China group. Wikimedians of Mainland China accused […]

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Today, “Li materials” are the subject of a legal battle between Stanford University and Mr. Li’s widow in Beijing. This is a battle for custody of an unofficial history of China. In millions of handwritten Chinese characters, Mr. Li documents his early days in the party, the revolution that brought him to power and his […]

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

Ponder this: A new tally of global cities’ emissions finds that the top 25 are responsible for 52% of the planet’s urban greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-three of those are in China. New York City is the first American city to appear, at No. 26. Out of the top 75, just four other American cities are listed […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

The easiest solution to China’s escalating situation in the South Sea is to enforce China’s own formal statements at face value. China says they respect other countries and do not want to militarize the South Sea. Leave it at that. Any disrespect toward other countries is not at the behest of Xijinping. Any militarization of […]

Why is Iran so keen on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

Why is Iran so keen on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

What Happened: Iran became an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – originally comprised of China, Russia, and 4 Central Asian republics – back in 2005. In the 16 years since, Tehran has consistently pushed for an upgrade to full membership, particularly after the SCO underwent its first expansion, adding India and Pakistan, in 2017. […]

How China hijacked the war on terror to commit genocide in Xinjiang

How China hijacked the war on terror to commit genocide in Xinjiang

Two decades after the 9/11 attacks spawned the U.S. government’s self-declared “Global War on Terrorism,” the nation that responded to it with the most aggressive regulatory, policing and social policies is thousands of miles from Ground Zero. China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party exploited the international revulsion toward terrorism sparked by the 9/11 attacks to reframe […]

China extends a fast helping hand to the Taliban

China extends a fast helping hand to the Taliban

China has reassured the Taliban that it is ready to begin development activities in Afghanistan via its ambitious multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative (BRI), as the war-torn country drifts toward an economic meltdown. In what some see as Beijing’s tacit approval of the Afghan militant group’s interim government, China announced on Wednesday (September 8) US$31 […]

China’s population enters ‘deep aging’ in many major cities

China’s population enters ‘deep aging’ in many major cities

China is facing a population crisis of increasing urgency, with 149 cities shown in recent census figures to have 14 percent of their residents over the age of 65. A recent analysis by the state-run China Business News (CBN) found that 149 cities in China have now entered “deep aging,” the middle state on a […]

China weighing occupation of former U.S. air base at Bagram in Afghanistan

China weighing occupation of former U.S. air base at Bagram in Afghanistan

China is considering deploying military personnel and economic development officials to Bagram airfield, perhaps the single-most prominent symbol of the 20-year U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.  The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment program known as the […]

%d bloggers like this: