Greek culture a vital part of South Australia

“All students currently learning Greek will be able to continue learning Greek,” according to South Australia Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close.
Following the news announced last month regarding the removal of Greek as a target language from the First Language Maintenance and Development (FLMD) program from 2016 in SA public schools, Neos Kosmos received an official statement from Dr Close regarding the matter that has raised major concerns within the Greek community in South Australia.
According to the Education and Child Development Minister, “Modern Greek is in the Australian curriculum and is taught as a second language in 19 South Australian government schools”.

“Around 3,800 students in South Australia learn Greek as part of the curriculum. This will not change – Greek is a very important second language
in Australia”.

South Australia Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close

South Australia Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close

She says that in addition to learning Greek through the curriculum, children can also learn Greek language and culture at Greek Ethnic Schools.

There are 12 Greek Ethnic Schools in South Australia and in 2015, 976 students studied in one of these schools. Support for Greek Ethnic Schools
remains unchanged.

On top of these offerings, Greek has been taught to children of Greek background through a school program designed to support the maintenance of the background language that children speak at home. In 2015, 647 students with Greek background participated in this program.

The program is called the First Language Maintenance and Development Program (also known as ‘Mother Tongue’) and generally offers an hour a week, with children taken out of mainstream classes to maintain their first language.

Dr Close says that as migration patterns change, other languages have a claim for this support. Generally these languages are not taught through the Australian curriculum, as Greek is, and are the first language of the children. Most of these languages do not yet have ethnic schools.

From 2016 the First Language Program will support these new languages.

“The First Language Program will continue to support students of Greek background for the next three years, and over that time the School of Languages will establish classes in Greek. The School of Languages gives kids an opportunity to learn a language that is not taught in their school.

“Greek is a wonderful language and Greek culture is a vital part of South Australian culture. I will do everything I can to maintain and strengthen Greek in our education system,” concluded
Dr Close.