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June 11, 2013

Australia

ESL program for newcomers to Australia under threat

Teaching-English-in-AustraliaIn yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, two Australian academics voiced their concerns about government plans they feel threaten ESL programs for immigrants and refugees.

While politicians proudly proclaim the achievements of our multicultural state at local community events, the NSW government is quietly dismantling a key plank of multiculturalism since its inception in the 1970s - the dedicated statewide funding and provision of English language services to migrant and refugee students in state government schools.

The English as a second language program provides specialist ESL teacher support to newly arrived and ongoing English language learners in public primary and secondary schools across the state. It now comprises 896 teaching positions staffed by about 1600 specialist ESL teachers, supporting more than 130,000 migrant and refugee students.

Under the government's Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) reform, the ESL program is about to undergo a fundamental change. The NSW Department of Education and Communities is moving to replace these state-wide arrangements for ESL teaching positions to schools.

Read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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