28 Oct 2012

Asia to be core part of Australian school education

5:04 pm on 28 October 2012

Asian studies will become a core part of the Australian education system under a new white paper issued by the federal government on Sunday.

The Asian Century white paper sets out how Australia can increase integration with Asia over the coming decade and beyond.

The document sets out 25 objectives for the nation over the 13 years to 2025, aimed at ensuring Australia fulfils its ambitions and competes effectively within Asia.

AAP reports it places a heavy emphasis on education, saying Asian studies will become a core part of the Australian school curriculum.

All students will be able to study an Asian language and the priorities will be Chinese Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese.

Australian leaders will also be more Asia literate, with one-third of board members of the top 200 publicly listed companies and commonwealth bodies to have "deep experience" in and knowledge of Asia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the document lays out an ambitious plan to make sure Australia grows stronger by capitalising on the opportunities offered by the Asian Century.

"We should devote a truly national effort to building more comprehensive relationships with our key partners across the region, including through our diplomatic networks.

"Our 2025 goal is that Australia's trade links with Asia will be at least one-third of GDP up from one-quarter in 2011."

New work and holiday agreements between Australia and its Asian neighbours will mean more opportunities for work and study in the region and to take up professional opportunities.

Financial markets will be better integrated, allowing capital to flow more easily across borders.