Students embrace Asian century

ST Mary’s Catholic Primary School students are pioneers when it comes to Australian and Asian relations. 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently released the Australia in the Asian Century white paper, which detailed how students should learn an Asian language and engage in Asian culture.

It is a practice St Mary’s has taken very seriously this year.

The school recently won $20,000 in federal funding for the Becoming Asia Literate: Grants to Schools Program. 

Principal Kerrie Basha said she was proud and thankful for the efforts of staff and members of the Parents and Friends Association, who worked tirelessly to secure the funding.

“We are extremely grateful for the support our parent community gives our staff, school and children,” she said.

“It helps us ensure we are able to offer a well-rounded education.”

The school had to outline a strict budget, a plan of implementation and include an Asian country of study for the school. The submission was months in the making. 

St Mary’s was one of 12 Catholic schools in Australia to received the grant.

The program began at the start of the year but was officially launched yesterday at a ceremony at the school.

Year 1, 2 and 3 students demonstrated how they could count in Korean, introduce themselves in Korean, sing and dance Korean songs. 

Mayor John Davis congratulated the school on their persistence with securing the competitive funding.

“I’m very excited for St Mary’s School,” he said.

“When I was at school I studied French for about three or four years and that wasn’t very good. French is studying history but Asian languages are the future.”

Students discussed their favourite parts of learning about Asia, with answers varying from dressing up in Asian dresses and lantern making to cooking and learning how to say hello in another language.

Part of the grant will be used to set up video links with students in Korea.

St Mary’s students will learn to converse with their counterparts as well as write to them via email and letters. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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