An education forum backed by The University of Western Australia will discuss how to boost Chinese language and cultural competency in WA as a way to strengthen bilateral ties with Australia's biggest trading partner.
The Australia-China Business Council will hold the forum tomorrow (17 October) in the Theatre Auditorium at the University Club of Western Australia.
Speakers including representatives of the Chinese and WA governments, business leaders and members of the education, community, vocational education and training sectors will discuss ways to increase Chinese language learning and improve understanding of Chinese culture within WA schools, universities and industry.
Speakers will include the People's Republic of China's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency CHEN Yuming, who will deliver the keynote address; UWA Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bill Louden; Professor John Edwards, chair of the Australia-China Business Council Education Committee; and Professor CHU Xianhua, Visiting Fellow and Associate Director of UWA's Confucius Institute.
Professor Edwards said that while trade and enterprise had led Australia's bilateral relations with China, education promoted mutual understanding and long-lasting links. The forum would focus on furthering such education.
"Most people agree it is the ‘obvious and smart' thing to do for our State and our future generation, but why are the achievements to date quite poor?" Professor Edwards said.
"What positive moves can business and industry make to help bring together our cultures to make the learning and teaching of Chinese vibrant, meaningful and ultimately commercially sound for both Australia and China?"
Professor Louden said that despite the many successful outcomes of Australia-China linkages in education and research, Australian universities still faced challenges in sustaining long-term relationships with key regional partners.
"One of the major challenges is the study of Asian languages," Professor Louden said.
"There is no question that future growth and development in the education sector, in Australia and China alike, will come from the thoughtful continuation of good planning, investment from government and industry, increased language training, and consistent international collaboration over the long-term."
The ACBC Education Forum 2012, which will be attended by members of the Chinese media, will be held tomorrow from 9am to 12pm. Entry is free.
Bronwyn Aitken (International Relations (North and (+61 8) 6488 7587 / (+61 4) 00 023 251
Southeast Asia), Vice-Chancellery
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783