Years ago, children had pen pals to make friends in other countries. These days they can talk to each other in real time on the internet.
These students from Marlborough Primary School in Melbourne are skyping their sister-school, MIN Cempaka Putih in Jakarta, as part of a project by the Australia-Indonesia Institute and Asia Education Foundation to give students from both countries the chance to learn about language and build intercultural understanding.
Do you think these cross-country conversations make a difference to kids' education?
As a neighboring country, Australian and Indonesian culture taught since elementary school age. Through teaching about different cultures from an early age, expected future generations of the two countries will further strengthen the cooperation and avoid misunderstandings.
BRIDGE ( Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement ) program is an Australian Government initiative to build relationships between Australian schools with partner schools in various countries in Asia. Currently the program has the support of funds from The Myer Foundation, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australia-Indonesia Institute - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with the Asia Education Foundation have formed a partnership with four countries, among others: Indonesia, China, Korea and Thailand.
Last year Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her Asian Century policy, which included the line: ’All schools will engage with at least one school in Asia to support the teaching of a priority Asian language.’
Fine ambition, tough assignment. Duncan Graham reports on progress in Indonesia.
We're going to find out more about one of our nearest neighbours, Indonesia. One Aussie class has decided to buddy up with an Indonesian school so they can learn more about each other. So how did it work? Our Indonesian reporter Erwin, visited both schools to find out.
The editors met political leaders of state and federal government, and participated in roundtable discussions with leading think tanks. At Marlborough Primary School in Melbourne’s east the group saw first-hand how the BRIDGE school twinning program has enabled hundreds of school children to learn Bahasa and experience Indonesian culture. The real-time lesson with students in a partner school in Jakarta was conducted via Skype and is an example of building Asian literacy and people-to-people links in the Asian Century.
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