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LETTER

Encouraging news for Greek language

 

January 2021

It is indeed encouraging that the Greek Program at the Latrobe University has been saved for the time being thanks primarily to the mobilisation of the Greek community. The conditions for this survival -community financial support and a steep increase in student enrollment - are clearly very demanding, yet worth the effort in a desperate situation.

But winning a temporary battle with a considerable cost must be only the new beginning for an on going and much broader campaign to win the war for the learning of Greek and other Ethnic Minority languages in the Nationís Schools, starting with the adoption or re-adoption of a well funded National Policy on Languages, at primary, secondary and tertiary levels to reverse the catastrophic decline of the last 20 years. Government claims we are doing very well are just unproven claims.

And this at a time that Australia has never been and will continue to be more multilingual and multicultural and mother languages -not foreign- are used daily by millions of non Anglo Australians.Exiting languages from the publicly funded education system where the great majority of ethnic minority background students go and mix with whole school population, amounts to gross discrimination, neo racism, a grave violation of human rights and a diminishing use and loss of a most valuable national asset that came to the forth during the current coronavirus epidemic. If migration is good for Australia which most certainly is, so are the cultures and languages of all its people, aborigines, Anglo-Saxons, Italo-Australiansí Chinese-Australians, Greek -Australians etc.

To breath easier about the Greek language and its long term future, we need to engage with the other Ethnic minority Communities, their umbrella organisations, teachers and their unions, political parties and all advocates of multiculturalism, a huge reservoir of support. We need a person or persons to work full time for this campaigning for a period.

One thing we cannot afford is to think the temporary Latrobe outcome as operation success and turn the next page. For the next page will take us backward not forward where the answers are.

George Zangalis

Melbourne, Victoria

Greek Tribune

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