Jenny Mikakos speaks at the Greek Parliament

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Victorian Minister for Families, Children and Youth, Jenny Mikakos, gave a speech in Greek parliament during her recent visit to her country of heritage. The minister spoke about the needs of the Greek diaspora, mainly when it comes to the promotion and retention of the Greek language as part of a broader effort to promote Hellenism, and the interests of Greeks wherever they may live. In Victoria, 134,779 people have listed their ancestry as Greek, and 110,707 Victorians speak Greek at home, which is the third most common language spoken. Despite these numbers, students learning Greek in Victorian schools almost halved between 2010 and 2017. Of these students only a very small number study Greek to the end of their secondary schooling: 252 students in 2016.In 2017, only 35 accredited Greek community language schools are providing after school hours Greek programmes to almost 6,000 students, funded by the Victorian government. At the same time, the Greek community in Victoria is undertaking other efforts to promote the Greek language with projects the likes of the Speak Greek in March campaign.“Understandably our shared interests are in looking at how we can support Greece in its economic recovery and in its foreign policy objectives,” Mikakos said.“We need to ensure that our young people born in the diaspora retain a connection to Greece and to foster a new wave of Philhellenes in our broader societies. So I want to focus my remarks now on what we can do collectively to promote the learning of the Greek language,” she said thanking the Greek Ministry of Education for funding Greek teachers across the diaspora even despite the budgetary constraints.Focusing her comments on the Australian context, and the state of Victoria, Mikakos noted that according to the most recent Australian census, 421,000 Australians have Greek ancestry – 34,000 more than the previous census, which is a result of the recent wave of recent arrivals from Greece. She urged her Greek counterparts to consider not only the continuation of the longstanding Greek Seconded Teacher Program but a possible increase in the number of teachers to support the teaching of Greek. “This needs to respond to the needs of an increasing number of students who arrive from Greece with advanced levels of Greek language,” Mikakos stated.“I would urge you to support Victorian teachers of Greek to enhance their linguistic and cultural knowledge and pedagogical skills by facilitating local and/or in-country professional learning opportunities.”Mikakos asked the Greek Ministry of Education to make available contemporary Greek language curriculum resources, including online resources to Victorian schools that teach Greek and community language schools. Many Greek teachers report a need for new and engaging resources to meet the needs of the increasing number of newly arrived students from Greece with high levels of Greek language proficiency. These resources are not available locally. “We need resources that cater for the diverse needs of students across the spectrum ranging from those with no Greek ancestry to those students with proficient Greek language skills.“The Greek Consulate in Melbourne used to have a dedicated person managing the seconded teachers and Greek language programs. This position ended in 2014. When we have to work harder to convince parents that their children should learn Greek it would be helpful to have a dedicated person coordinating these efforts.”last_img

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