Minister for Education Martin Dixon tonight farewelled the first 68 students who will spend the next six weeks in China as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s plan to better position Victoria to take advantage of the opportunities of the Asian Century.
The students – from five government and three Catholic schools – are the first in the Government’s $13 million Victorian Young Leaders to China Program who will spend one week in intensive Mandarin language training, one week visiting key cultural sites and four weeks in classes at leading schools in Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Victoria’s sister-state, Jiangsu Province.
Over the next five years 1,500 young Victorians will participate in the program, which was announced during the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2012 Super Trade Mission to China.
Mr Dixon said the program, is an investment in the future of young Victorians by giving them the skills, knowledge and cultural understanding that will enable them to build careers in the Asian region.
“We are giving Victorian students a competitive educational advantage in the Asian century, with a program that is designed to strengthen leadership, languages and intercultural skills,” Mr Dixon said.
Students from the following schools will be in China from 18 March to 29 April:
Alkira Secondary College, Cranbourne North;
- Brunswick Secondary College;
- Mount Clear College, Ballarat;
- Northcote High School;
- Victoria University Secondary College, St Albans;
- Marcellin College, Bulleen;
- Mater Christi College, Belgrave; and
- St Joseph’s College, Geelong.
“This program targets Year 9 students at a time in their school lives when what they learn about themselves, other cultures, subjects and languages can make a lasting difference to their future,” Mr Dixon said.
Mr Dixon acknowledged the Office of Chinese Language Council International, China (Hanban), for its hard work and generosity in funding, planning and supporting the two week language and cultural element of the program.
“This program is an expression of the Victorian and Chinese governments’ shared commitment to strengthening and deepening inter cultural understanding,” Mr Dixon said.
Mr Dixon also farewelled 10 educators, who will accompany the students and participate in a tailored professional development program. These educators will bring back to Victoria what they have learned in some of the world’s highest performing school systems.
“The benefits of this program will extend far beyond the students and educators taking part – it will be a catalyst for promoting Chinese language and culture in schools across the State,” Mr Dixon said.
The Victorian Coalition Government is working to ensure all government school students, from Prep to Year 10, are studying a language by 2025 – starting with Prep in 2015.”
The Victorian Coalition Government is focused on building a better education system for students and their families with a record $8.8 billion funding for schools in 2014.
For more information about the program visit: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/youngleaders