Asia Literacy

Becoming an Asian Engaged School

Margaret River Primary is among a select group of schools successful in gaining funding to promote Asian languages and cultures within their classrooms and school communities.

As part of the national Becoming Asia Literate Grants to Schools (BALGS) initiative, Margaret River Primary received a Federal Government Grant which is part of the $62.4 million National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program to support Asian literacy.  We aim to promote understandings among young Australians of the cultures and languages of the target countries: Japan, China, Indonesia and Korea through ongoing integration of Asian literacy throughout the curriculum at MRPS.

We are living in an increasingly globalised world and it is more and more vital to promote Asian languages and cultures in our schools so that our students have a better understanding and knowledge of our near neighbours.

Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia – Australian cross-curriculum priority

The Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia priority provides a regional context for learning in all areas of the curriculum. It reflects Australia’s extensive engagement with Asia in social, cultural, political, and economic spheres.

Many Asian nations are growing rapidly and are regionally and globally influential. Immigrants from all these countries have historically contributed to Australia’s development and will continue to do so in the future. An understanding of Asia underpins the capacity of Australian students to be active and informed citizens working together to build harmonious local, regional and global communities, and build Australia’s social, intellectual and creative capital. It also builds understanding of the diversity of cultures and peoples living in Australia, fosters social inclusion and cohesion and is vital to the prosperity of Australia.

This priority will ensure that students learn about and recognise the diversity within and between the countries of the Asia region. They will develop knowledge and understanding of Asian societies, cultures, beliefs and environments, and the connections between the peoples of Asia, Australia, and the rest of the world. Asia literacy provides students with the skills to communicate and engage with the peoples of Asia so they can effectively live, work and learn in the region.

From the ACARA website: www.acara.edu.au

Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE Project

Since 2013 when Margaret River Primary School successfully applied to participate in this project, our school has developed a close relationship with our sister school in Sulawesi,  SD Paccinongan Unggulan (Primary School) in Gowa Region, Makassar, Sulawesi.  As part of this project, teachers have visited each other’s schools and students have benefited from the exchange of ideas and shared cultural experiences. Recently Ibu Janice spearheaded a fundraiser to raise funds to support Backpacker Medics from Western Australia in their rescue efforts in Palu and Donggala (near to our sister school), after the 2018 Tsunami.

What is the BRIDGE project?

The Asia Education Foundation has led work on Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships since 2008.  BRIDGE stands for  ‘Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement’.

The Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Project provides Australian teachers and students with the opportunity to engage with their peers in Asia through a blended model of face-to-face and online learning activities.

The project consists of:
•    a face-to-face ‘establishment visit’ of a teacher from Asia travelling to Australia and spending time in an Australian school community. These visits are then reciprocated.
•    the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to support a range of online interactions between partner schools led by teachers and students.
Through BRIDGE School Partnerships, students engage with the history, cultures, societies and languages of their partner school. School Partnerships work collaboratively on curriculum programs that develop shared understandings and an appreciation of cultural similarities and differences. BRIDGE School Partnerships are currently in China, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.

In 2013, our school was recognised for the work we do in promoting Asian literacy across the school, under the leadership of Janice Dunlop (Languages Co-ordinator).  Film makers from the Asia Education Foundation visited MRPS and created a film which they published on their website, to inspire and lead other schools to incorporate best practice and meet the curriculum requirements of incorporating Asian literacy across the curriculum.  Our commitment to a whole-school focus, embedding Asia literacy in our school’s Inquiries, was recognised by the Asia Education Foundation in this video.

Useful links for more information:

  1. Asia Education Foundation 
  2. PUAL –  (Parents Understanding Asia Literacy)