Investment in Asian Learning Will Strengthen Our Ability to Engage with Asia

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) said today that additional federal government funding to encourage the learning of Asian languages and about cultures in schools was an initiative worthy of strong support from business.

BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said that projects developed by the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) are already making an important contribution to developing the knowledge and understanding of students about the different nations and cultures of Asia.

“School education can and should provide the foundation for preparing our future workforce for greater engagement with the nations and cultures of Asia”, Ms Westacott said.

“We also require high-quality training and workforce development that enables businesses to develop the capabilities of their employees in areas that reflect the priorities of each business.

“Asialink’s Asia Capable Workplace Taskforce, of which I am a member, has identified the importance of ensuring that our school education system complements policies that help to meet the current and emerging workplace requirements of business.

“These are areas where investments by both governments and business in well-developed and effective programs will deliver future returns not only to individual students, but to the wider community.

“Such investments will help to develop the capabilities we need to build effective diplomatic, educational and economic relationships, across the diverse nations of Asia.

“The announcement by the Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, of additional funding for the programs run by the AEF is an example of such an investment”, Ms Westacott said.