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Languages reports

History, scale of operation, support base, nature of the student group, rationale, teacher profile – these are fundamentals in which there are many marked differences across the four languages.

In 2009, the Australian Government commissioned the Asia Education Foundation to research and produce detailed reports outlining the current situation in Australian schools with relation to three of the languages targeted by the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program – IndonesianJapanese and KoreanChinese had already been the subject of such a study in 2008 by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Melbourne Confucius Institute.

Summary and overview

The Current State of Asian Language Education Summary (PDF, 201 KB) provides a snapshot of the key issues and recommendations tabled in each report.

Current state of Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean Language Education in Australian Schools

The overview (PDF, 1.3 MB) provides:

  • access to key elements of the findings of the four reports
  • an overview of the issues they raise
  • suggested responses to those issues to guide and direct thinking about appropriate action by education systems and schools.


Full reports

Chinese Cover


The Current State of Chinese Language Education in Australian Schools (PDF3.6 MB)

How best attract those learning Chinese as a second language, who cannot compete at senior secondary levels with native speakers?

Indonesian Cover


The Current State of Indonesian Language Education in Australian Schools (PDF1.9 MB)

How can Indonesian, now an 'at risk' language in Australian schools without a significant advocacy group, arrest a steep decline?

Japanese Language Education in Australian Schools cover


The Current State of Japanese Language Education in Australian Schools (PDF1.2 MB)

How does a 'big' language capitalise on its strengths while addressing issues which have led to its decline?

Korean Cover


The Current State of Korean Language Education in Australian Schools (PDF2.3 MB)

With just 69 Korean teachers across Australia, what conditions will allow a 'small' language to grow?


All four reports provide detailed insight into the situation of their topic language and are an invaluable resource to inform the future of Asian languages in Australian schools. The reports draw attention to the fact that, while at a broad strategic level the four languages have similar (but not the same) issues and requirements, their situations are very different.

Academic experts in each language area developed the reports:

  • Chinese – Dr Jane Orton, University of Melbourne
  • Indonesian – Michelle Kohler (University of South Australia) and Dr Phillip Mahnken (University of Sunshine Coast)
  • Japanese – Anne de Kretser and Dr Robyn Spence-Brown (Monash University)
  • Korean – Dr Seong-Chul Shin (University of New South Wales).

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