The Australian government has announced a 15.2 million AU dollars (14.5 million U.S. dollars) investment in seven new projects to encourage school kids to study Asian languages, and to bring teachers up to speed with their Asian literacy.
"We'll need some new thinking and new ways of teaching if we want to reach our goal of increasing the study of Asian languages in Australian schools," School Education Minister Peter Garrett said in a statement.
"Under the National Plan, this government has set an ambitious goal of offering every child access to the study of an Asian language from their first day of school by 2025. We're now getting on with the job of making this happen," he added.
The project includes training modules for Asian language teachers to introduce better teaching methods and improve their knowledge of Asian culture and history.
The government is also offering a grants program to support innovative ways for schools to work together with other schools, businesses and the community to stimulate demand for learning Asian languages and inspire future career choices.
Garret cited a new report released by Deakin University, Asia Literacy and the Australian Teaching Workforce as highlighting the importance of the government's commitment to supporting Asia literacy in schools.
"For Australia to remain competitive in the Asian Century, young Australians need to have the skills to build strong relationships with Asia, so it's vital our schools can provide language classes and opportunities for further study," Garrett said.
"Learning another language also helps students understand the contribution that people of different backgrounds have and continue to make to Australia, helping to ensure ours remains a tolerant and productive community," he added.