MANDARIN and Italian will be the first languages to be taught in schools under the Australian curriculum from 2014.
The draft paper was recently released for public consultation.
Schools Minister Peter Garrett said these languages were the most common second languages spoken in Australia.
‘‘This fact, combined with the long-standing historical and cultural connections between these two countries and Australia, is why they were chosen as the first curricula to be developed,” he said.
“The Italian community has played an important role in Australia since the post-war period, establishing Italian as one of the largest community languages in Australia.
“Mandarin is a priority language under the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, which aims to promote the learning of Asian languages and build Asian literacy capabilities in Australian schools and students.”
He said the initiative aimed to help make children ‘‘global citizens’’, give them greater cultural awareness and international employment opportunities.
Yet to be developed as part of the curriculum are other languages including Japanese, Indonesian, German, French, Vietnamese, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, modern Greek and a framework for Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.