ACARA makes Modern Greek more accessible

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Board of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) reversed its decision to pitch the Australian Curriculum for Modern Greek to those with a working knowledge of Greek. ACARA has listened to the call by many wanting Modern Greek to become more accessible to people with no knowledge of the language. Already winning the landmark decision of being available in the national curriculum, the ACARA board decided to pitch the curriculum in two ways, for Greeks and non Greeks. MP Maria Vamvakinou, a former Modern Greek teacher herself and campaigner for the issue, is overjoyed with the outcome. “I’m thrilled that Modern Greek will now have a national cover that it needs to become a language to be taken up by young Australians of non Greek background,” she told Neos Kosmos. “Our argument was that it’s a language of national significance.” The decision comes after a letter to ACARA signed by community and educational organisations all around Australia, pleaded that Greek should maintain the same learner pathway as French, German, Indonesian, or Japanese. Thinking the letter would fall on deaf ears, the board overturned their initial decision on November 1st. Their hard work means Greek will become more accessible for everyone, and is now one of the languages a principal can choose to be taught at all Australian schools. The measure is a step forward in the battle to keep Modern Greek alive in Australia, but Professor Michael Tsianikas of Flinders University isn’t too optimistic about it being popular. “I have to be realistic. Studying the situation of languages in Australia for many years now, I know there are two big factors,’ he explains. “One is the big European languages are very popular, like French, and on the other hand the Asian languages are being pushed by the Australian government. The other factor is we’re going to have new communities like the Greek community was 30 or 40 years ago.” It’s something many might foresee but aren’t happy to admit. Even though Professor Tsianikas was a campaigner for overturning ACARA’s decision, he is realistic about the turnout schools might see. “I can’t see why a student in any school would study Modern Greek when there are other possibilities and the government is pushing other languages,” he says.“Regardless of what the government will say about Greek language, and even they say this is the most important language ever, still I think the reality is it is a language of limited potential now.” Ms Vamvakinou does see initial problems with numbers especially since most Greek classes are offered after school or on Saturdays. “It runs the risk of remaining around the infrastructure of the afternoon schools, but it won’t necessarily mean it won’t extend itself to the non Greek speaking community,” she says. The solution will have to come in great marketing campaigns to students and non Greeks to convince them that it’s a better choice than the other options on the national curriculum. “We really have to do a good job,” Professor Tsianikas says. “[ACARA] are recognising our strength, they’re sending us a positive and friendly message. Now it’s up to us if we are able to show we’re able to receive this gift with grace and in return give something back.” At least the decision is a step forward to ensuring the livelihood of the Greek language in our community. The decision will work towards changing people perceptions of Modern Greek as a subject, and will open doors for those seeking to re-connect with the language of their ancestors. Mr Vassilios Gogas, Education Coordinator at the Consulate says it’s a step forward to reforming Greek and the way it’s taught. “It will address the long-standing erroneous perception that Greek is only available to – and being taught to – students who use Modern Greek as a language at home,” he says.last_img read more