Western Australia Governor Chris Dawson with Indian Consul General to Perth Amarjeet Singh Takhi at the Indian food festival organised at the Government House in November (Image courtesy: Twitter/@CGIPerth)
Making it the newest language for its schools, the government of Western Australia has announced that a Punjabi curriculum will be developed and made available for pre-primary to Year 12 students of the state.
This follows the announcement in 2021 of the development of syllabuses for Hindi, Korean and Tamil, which will be introduced to schools in the region starting 2023.
Sue Ellery, a leader in the Legislative Council in the state Parliament and also the Education and Training Minister, announced on Tuesday that curriculum writers will start developing Punjabi syllabuses and support materials for schools from January.
Punjabi will be fully developed in Western Australia, where languages education becomes compulsory from Year 3, by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.
While the pre-primary to Year 10 Punjabi syllabuses will be available to schools from 2024, it is anticipated that the Year 11 courses will be available to students in 2024, with the first ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) Course Examination to be set in 2025.
The local government believes that with more than 190 languages spoken throughout Western Australia, linguistic diversity is a great strength of the State and provides a range of social, cultural and economic benefits.
“I am pleased to see the ongoing expansion of languages curriculum for WA students, and the development of Punjabi curriculum is particularly fitting given it could support students in key future employment opportunities,” said Ellery in a statement issued by the Western Australia government.
As Australia deepens cooperation with India in all spheres, the minister spotlighted that the WA government led the State’s largest-ever business delegation to India earlier this year amid a broader strengthening of engagement with New Delhi.
Punjabi is Australia’s fastest-growing language while Hindi continues to be one of the top 10 languages used in Australian homes.
Punjabi, as per the 2021 Census released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has had the largest increase, showing 239,033 people using Punjabi at home.
The Cultural Diversity Census revealed that the top five languages used at home, other than English, were Mandarin (2.7 per cent), Arabic (1.4 per cent), Vietnamese (1.3 per cent), Cantonese (1.2 per cent) and Punjabi (0.9 per cent).
Western Australia, which has the largest land area of any Australian state or territory with around 10 per cent of the continent’s total population, has a sizable population of Punjabis after Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Indians, attracted to the State for its exceptional climate, buoyant economy and relaxed lifestyle, are generally based around the State’s capital, Perth.
Also Read: Australia says India at the heart of its approach to Indo-Pacific and beyond