Australian schoolchildren to learn Hindi, Chinese

SYDNEY- Australia plans to introduce Asian languages, including, Hindi and Chinese, at schools in a bid to help the country exploit the region’s economic growth, a media report said.

In a move to ensure Australia is prepared for the “Asian Century”, Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to improve links with the continent by committing to 25 ambitious goals over the next 13 years.

All schoolchildren in the country will choose one of four “priority” languages to learn at school – Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi and Chinese, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Australian schools will be partnered with Asian schools and television stations are being encouraged to air more Asian news and programmes to verse Australia’s youth in knowledge of the booming region.

The measures, outlined in a government report, also include offering thousands of scholarships to Asian students and will require a third of company directors to have a “deep” working knowledge of the region.

Gillard said: “This is good news for Australia and it should drive a profound change in our thinking about our economic relationship with Asia.”–IANS