29 Oct 2012

Govt to let Asian language programme expire

10:36 am on 29 October 2012

A $A62 million Asian language programme in Australia is to expire in December despite the federal government saying it wants four priority languages to be taught from primary school to high school.

"We are going to do something far broader and far more systematic than that," Prime Minister Julia Gillard told ABC Radio on Monday, the day after she issued a white paper on the Asian Century.

The plan is for Asian studies to become a core part of the Australian school curriculum, with every student having an opportunity to study Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian or Japanese.

But AAP reports a starting date is dependent on getting agreement from the states and territories on education funding reforms.

Ms Gillard confirmed the government will not continue funding the national Asian language programme, which was initiated by her predecessor Kevin Rudd.

"I think we can do a lot better," she said.