Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cuts to language programs in the ACT

Despite the growing recognition of the many social, economic and educational benefits of maintaining and developing multilingual skills in the Canberra community, 2012 will see a reduction in language programs for adults.
Certificate and Diploma programs 
As those who read the strident letters to the Canberra Times in early December will know, the CIT has cancelled its Certificate III and IV language courses in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, French and Spanish from 2012.  As the disgruntled letter writers pointed out, this effectively makes it impossible for Canberrans working full-time to study another language to a reasonable level of fluency in a well structured accredited program.
Also discontinued from 2012 is the part-time Graduate Diploma in Languages at the University of Canberra, which was available in Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese.
Japanese language at the University of Canberra (UC)
On 21 December 2011, lecturers in Japanese at UC were shocked to be informed that the university’s Japanese language program was to be abolished. Following representations from a number of organisations, including the NTEU, Japan Foundation and Embassy of Japan, closure has been postponed – either until the start of Semester 2 or at the end of 2012. This leaves students already enrolled in the program and staff in limbo and discourages new enrolments. Abolition of the program also severely restricts options for the study of languages on the UC campus and could have trickle down effects on Japanese study in schools in the ACT region.
UC students of Japanese have started an online petition, which you are welcome to sign at  
If you wish to write directly to the UC Vice Chancellor about the proposed cuts, you can email him at


  1. One reason why Cert III and IV courses have been axed may lie with the actual quality of the courses that were being delivered. Until a couple of years ago, some of the Cert III and IV courses (Spanish comes to mind) saw enrolments of 20 or even higher numbers. CIT Management has also a lot to answer for.

    1. Thanks for this comment. I was shocked to read in the Page two article in the Canberra Times of 16 January 'Language courses face uncertain times' that only 27 of 215 students who enrolled in CIT languages courses in 2011 completed their course!
      If this is indeed the case, did CIT investigate why this was so before deciding to close the program I wonder? (Since the Languages Forum Update we have discovered that the Cert level I and II will also not be offered by CIT from 2013 - though they may be picked up by CIT Solutions, in which case they would need to cover costs and hence be much more expensive for students).


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