Australia's Asia Literacy Alliance, a coalition of peak education stakeholders formed by The Asia Education Foundation, has called for urgent action to increase the number of students studying an Asian language. It has also called for studies of Asia to be embedded as a core element in Humanities and Social Sciences, English and The Arts for all students. Advancing a range of proposals in support of these goals, it has urged the Council of Australian Governments to develop and resource a National Action Plan to implement the National Statement for Engaging Young Australians with Asia in Australian Schools,and to monitor improvements in Asia literacy through system progress measures. See Asialink statement July 2008.
The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has announced the winners of its 2008 awards. Awards are offered for the categories covering older child readers, younger readers, early childhood and information books.
Act Smart – Be Safe is a new website initiated by Queensland's Department of Education, Training and the Arts to promote safety and minimise risk of violence for young people. The site includes information for school leaders.
A newly published paper examines the relationship between welfare payments and school attendance in Northern Territory Indigenous communities. The paper, prepared for the Australian Education Union (AEU) by Professor Larissa Behrendt and Ruth McCausland, raises concerns about the viability of policy linking welfare payments to school attendance. See AEU media release 12 August 2008 and article in The Australian 13 August 2008.
The Brungle Aboriginal Environmental Education Centre has recently been established by the Department of Education and Training in New South Wales. The two-teacher school, which lies between Gundagai and Tumut, includes a bush tucker garden, a dreaming room run by community elders and a traditional village. The centre opens every Thursday for educational tours led by the Brungle students. See Departmental statement August 2008.
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced two new State Government initiatives to help address the behaviour of young South Australians. The training package 'Your Classroom: Safe, Orderly and Productive' will provide training to 2,000 classroom teachers. The Supportive Schools Program will be introduced to South Australian secondary schools in 2009. This preventative program has been shown to decrease the incidence of bullying in schools by encouraging positive relationships between students. See Minister's statement August 11, 2008
Rural Tasmanian students struggle with interrupted internet access, a national conference of the Isolated Children's Parents' Association (ICPA) in Hobart has been told. Parents said students regularly lost a day's work when access failed. See article in the Mercury 1 August 2008.
Baby learning and development programs will be introduced at child-care centres as part of the Australian Government's plans for a national early learning program for children from birth to age five. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald 7 August 2008.
Men's chances to be involved with children in schools and the community are increasingly compromised by public concerns about child safety, according to journalist Steve Waldon. See article in WA Today 3 August 2008.
The Department of Education and Training in New South Wales will become one of the world’s largest clients of Google following its selection as the new email provider for the State's students. The new system will offer at least six gigabytes email storage per mailbox and be similar to standard Gmail to use. The email upgrade coincides with the rollout of the State Government’s $158 million Connected Classrooms program. See Departmental statement August 2008 and article in the Sydney Morning Herald 30 July 2008.