• Subject Name : Education

Bilingual Education Framework

Table of Contents





Introduction to Bilingual Education Policy in Australia

The aboriginal people of Australia are a disadvantaged subgroup that are trapped in a loop of disadvantage like schooling and social justice. According to a survey, the broad and constant literacy rate difference between the aboriginal and non-aboriginals’ students is considered to be created primarily due to remoteness, the most affected in the Northern Territories. The figures suggest that about 78.7% of Aboriginal students and 95.6% of non-Aboriginal students achieved the standard of literacy with 42.5% of Northern students (Niaa.gov.au,2020). This research would explain the reasons and the corrective steps to create a bilingual system for the development of Aboriginal education.Along with this, there are several reasons for low literacy rate in Northern Territory such as imperfect local economy, problem in English speaking, no career goal etc. This study aims to describe effectiveness of Australian bilingual framework to develop educational perspectives of students living in Norther territory.

Discussion on Bilingual Education Policy in Australia

  • Explanation of the reasons behind low literacy rate

The causes behind this backwardness of literacy can be equally distributed among the home and school environment including individual factors but students are seen to blame the school whereas schools blame students and their home environment (Bianco & Slaughter, 2017). The reasons are tabulated below -



  1.  Parents and careers

Lack of family-planning and family-raising knowledge among parents distances them from taking up their legal responsibilities which leads to parental-control absenteeism.Unfamiliar with the values of school education which distracts the child’s attitude towards career goals (Renganathan&Kral,2018).Absence of teamwork between parents and teachers for the development of a child, the existence of ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude.

  1. Society

Here the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory meagrely value education. Thus, the trend follows for generations.Lack of welfare support to the kids who can lead the nation (Street et al. 2018).

  1. Schools

Substandard teaching skills which ultimately do not interest students.

  1. Government

Merciful law and order designs that are not strictly followed by the people thus diminishing their encouragement for literacy.Some of the curriculums are unsuitable for the students which need to be checked by the education officers.Addition of interesting coursework, extra-curricular activities outside the normal syllabus.

  1. Students

Lack of career goals which decreases interest to study(Van Gelderen, 2017).Social problems like being bullied or feeling pressurized can create boredom from studies.The above problems can lower the self-esteem of the student and trigger depression.

  1. Education jurisdiction

Existence of irregular education policies that affects the welfare of the whole education system. This creates abnormal referral policies between schools.The difference in the judgement between schools in cases of non-attendance also creates confusion and chaos.

  1. Local economy

Absence of employment in the family leads to poverty which interferes with the urge to attend school.Poverty creates a community deprived of educational amenities.

  1. Cultural diversity

The most common diversification is aspirations and achievements of boys and girls in the society. Maintenance of equality is still a taboo.Unemployment along with illiteracy among disaffected youths give rise to antisocial culture.

  1. Research

Despite taking various evidences for the last 20years there is very less improvement among the people.

Table 1: Reasons behind low literacy rate

(Source: Bianco & Slaughter,2017)

  • Evaluating the bilingual education framework

The current status of the framework in the Northern Territory is to use English in the mornings while native languages are recommended to be used in the afternoons. A table is given below to project all the frameworks of bilingual education in a better manner.




Pilot bilingual programmes, which is seen as "one of the most thrilling cultural activities in the western world," have been introduced by the German Government. More services were included in subsequent years – Model 1 programmes, which included Native languages reading and writing, were not included in Model 2 programmes.


Self-government came to the Northern Territories.


Bilingual services have begun to be certified.


The official goals were explained for bilingual education.


This centred on English, numeracy and vernacular literacy education. Bilingual services have been limited to extend.


The policy was phased out of bilingual education (1 December).


"Bilingual learning," though some services have been closed, was finally accepted as "more reliable and acceptable alternative" to bilingual learning.


Education Minister Syd Sterling returned bilingual education to the agenda.


The policy- DET’s Draft “Compulsory teaching in English for the first four hours of each school day” was excused for pre-schoolers from the four hours of English requirement (November 3). A Data on bilingual schools document was proposed in parliament (November 26) to deliver proper information about government rules and regulations.


The “Compulsory teaching in English for the first four hours of each school day” policy was included for all children of Australian Northern territory. This policy had a shelf-life of two years.


The “Compulsory teaching in English for the first four hours of each school day” policy was removed (December 27). The replacement policy was “Literacy for both Worlds”. At the end of 2nd year, this proposal contained alternatives such as english- vernacular bilingual-biliteracy services.


The replacement policy (“Literacy for Both Worlds”) was pulled out (January 13). The “Compulsory teaching in English for the first four hours of each school day” policy was put back without any changes (January 14). In a draught Literacy System for Studies to study English in additional languages was issued by education minister Burns in the same year on August 31.

Table 2: Bilingual education policy framework

(Source: Dudin, Romanova &Anishchenko,2020)

  • Effectiveness of the bilingual education for solving literacy related problems

The bilingual students can do any functions very strongly with better critical thinking skills. As the using two kinds of language at the same time, it improves their skills to operations like switching attention, working memory, inhabitation. It also helpful in other way that it helps to do better performance. The bilingual students are multi-tasking, problem solving in a better way (Freeman & Staley,2018).

This language makes the students biliterate and future sustainability as well as educational performances can be improved. The bilingual students have more option than other to choose their place of higher education. With help of this they have many more options to choose their institute, university where they want to go (Garvis, Harju-Luukkainen& Flynn,2018). More than 50% growth in student education can be possible after implementing proper bilingual framework in Northern territory schools of Australia. In addition, 20%-30% aboriginals’ students are also facilitated due to this framework and its proper execution (Niaa.gov.au, 2020).

One of the best advantages to know the bilingual language is it helps to make someone different than the others. In Present day most of the MNC companies are interested to recruit employees who are bilingual. There is a high demand of an employee who is known a spoken language than a potential employee.

The only thing of know bilingual language is not the education but also know different culture, another lifestyle of different people. In modern world communication is very much important. So, the children who can communicate in two different language gets a opportunity to Know different things.

The students who studies in a bilingual school meets students who comes from different background and culture. From there they taste the different culture and shows the scenario of the world around them. It makes them open minded.

  • Comparison of other countries bilingual education framework


Here many schools give this education to their children other than English language. Baldauf said that it gives more profit than the government. This is for indigenous students and takes intermittent official backing.


Here in maximum schools’ English education is given as the first language and as the second language Hindi or the state language is learned by the teachers.


In schools of China they preferred local language like Uyghur or Tibetan. They also give Mandarin education as a second language.


In Japan Japanese and English are the main bilingual language. There are some scholars who gives mathematics education in English.

The Arab World

In Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria literature, History and grammar taught in Arabic language and Mathematics taught in English or French.


Here the education cost is free so the private schools can use any language but the state schools use only Dutch, French and German.


French is the official language here. Apart from that Corsican, Breton, Gallo etc. language education gives in the schools.

United Kingdom

In British Isle Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic are the indigenous languages which education is given apart from English.


In Netherlands there are 100 bilingual language but, in the schools, Dutch is the first and English is the second language.


Here in maximum school English or French is the main language based on the location of school. They introduced new languages each week as a subject.

Unites States

In US the government takes care of English Language Learners. They focus on those whose first language is not English.

Table 3: Comparison of bilingual education framework

(Source: Lattimore, 2017)

[Refer to appendix 3]

  • Pros and cons of bilingual education

Pros: One who have learned one language can easily learns the second language. The process of learning the first language helps in the learning of second one. It can make a child open minded than a normal human being. They learn many things from different cultures.Knowing of two language given a worker more options to get many more opportunities. It helps students in vocational training.One who know two languages, can adapt a third language very easily.It improves our working memory power (Liang, Li &Chik,2020). Students can easily catch new concepts. It also helps to reduce mental pressure. The bilingual education gives personal experiences that give knowledge which helps one to make decision and create a better life.

Cons: Many schools don’t offer bilingual education and many schools turns of it in the mid-way for which students lose their ability to speak in it.For one child learning two different bilingual language at the same time is not possible. Some school does it which makes a bad impression.Bilingual education is too much costly and for this reason many schools stops this education as they can’t afford it (Macqueen et al. 2019).Many times, students experience new culture and ignores the local culture and students focus may shift to learn the second language than his important skills.To teach bilingual language teachers should have fluency in both languages. But in maximum cases they don’t have it.Sometimes it creates an imaginary vision which distracts students from their local community.

  • Personal suggestion

Always gives support the schools policies and decisions that they can give the native language education to their students.Provide schools all the essential resources, good quality materials. Focus on the ELLs programs.Give focus on students’ achievement by implementing various tests like grades, classroom performance, teacher recommendation.Use the ELLs program in the appropriate student population (Rahman, 2020). Give them assessment in English and their native language to upbring their knowledge.Measurement of progress is better than exams to show their all over growth and show performance in English exam.The marks what students get in English exam and regents should not use as to determine gradation or any decisions. Take proper care to translate languages. Students should have good education that they can use both language in examination.

Native languages like Chinese or Spanish Regents should count in accountability system.Improve schoolwide language policies to make language learning consistent.Teachers should have the proper knowledge about the exam skills in instruction (Phillips, Ritchie & Adair,2020). They should have the right to work for test preparation.The tested students’ languages and the languages of teachers in instruction should match with each other.

Conclusion on Bilingual Education Policy in Australia

The importance of bilingual education can be deduced from this article along with the reasons behind low literacy rate among the aboriginals of Australia and how to reduce this illiteracy. The reasons behind this backdrop are - prioritizing traditional culture over western culture, schools and colleges in remote locations which increases the chances of school dropouts and less attendance. Large scale research is needed for betterment of the communities although continuation of this research requires time and there are ethical issues like the traditions of the Aboriginals cannot be ignored. Education policies should be well examined by the Government before liberating them to the students so that school drop-outs are decreased. Personal interests of the students need to be triggered by welcoming opportunities in both western and native language.

References for Bilingual Education Policy in Australia

Bianco, J. L., & Slaughter, Y. (2017). Bilingual Education in Australia. Bilingual and Multilingual Education, 347. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Angel_Lin/publication/306924987_Extending_Understandings_of_Bilingual_and_Multilingual_Education/links/5e7907044585158bd501a7c0/Extending-Understandings-of-Bilingual-and-Multilingual-Education.pdf#page=351

Dudin, M. N., Romanova, Y. A., &Anishchenko, A. N. (2020). The Model of Bilingual Education as a Platform for Harmonizing the Interests of the Multi Faith Environment in Business Schools and Universities. European Journal of Contemporary Education, 9(2), 301-312. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1262609.pdf

Freeman, L. A., & Staley, B. (2018). The positioning of Aboriginal students and their languages within Australia’s education system: A human rights perspective. International journal of speech-language pathology, 20(1), 174-181. Retrieved from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17549507.2018.1406003

Garvis, S., Harju-Luukkainen, H., & Flynn, T. (2018). A Descriptive Study of Early Childhood Education Steering Documents in Finland, Sweden and Australia around Language Immersion Programmes. Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education. Retrieved from: https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/299690/pecera_v12n3_01.pdf?sequence=1

Lattimore, S. (2017). A comparative analysis of indigenous bilingual education policy and practice in Australia and Peru. Retrieved from: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/143270/3/Lattimore%20Thesis%202017.pdf

Liang, L., Li, H., &Chik, A. (2020). Two Countries, One Policy: A Comparative Synthesis of Early Childhood English Language Education in China and Australia. Children and Youth Services Review, 105386. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Luyao_Liang2/publication/343936751_Two_Countries_One_Policy_A_Comparative_Synthesis_of_Early_Childhood_English_Language_Education_in_China_and_Australia/links/5f4ef689a6fdcc9879c0196a/Two-Countries-One-Policy-A-Comparative-Synthesis-of-Early-Childhood-English-Language-Education-in-China-and-Australia.pdf

Macqueen, S., Knoch, U., Wigglesworth, G., Nordlinger, R., Singer, R., McNamara, T., & Brickle, R. (2019). The impact of national standardized literacy and numeracy testing on children and teaching staff in remote Australian Indigenous communities. Language Testing, 36(2), 265-287. Retrieved from: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/bitstream/handle/11343/217031/Revised%20version.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Phillips, L. G., Ritchie, J., & Adair, J. K. (2020). Young children’s citizenship membership and participation: comparing discourses in early childhood curricula of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 50(4), 592-614. Retrieved from: https://openaccess.wgtn.ac.nz/articles/journal_contribution/Young_children_s_citizenship_membership_and_participation_comparing_discourses_in_early_childhood_curricula_of_Australia_New_Zealand_and_the_United_States/12519974/files/23254838.pdf

Rahman, F. (2020). Bilingual Education vs English-only Approach at Australia’s Northern Territory Schools. REiLA: Journal of Research and Innovation in Language, 2(1). Retrieved from: https://journal.unilak.ac.id/index.php/REILA/article/download/3854/2099

Renganathan, S., &Kral, I. (2018). Exploring language and education policies for the indigenous minorities in Australia and Malaysia. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 20(1), 138-156. Retrieved from: https://ijme-journal.org/index.php/ijme/article/download/1530/1211

Street, C., Smith, J. A., Robertson, K., Motlap, S., Ludwig, W., Gillan, K., & Guenther, J. (2018). A historical overview of responses to Indigenous higher education policy in the NT: Progress or procrastination?. Australian Universities' Review, The, 60(2), 38. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1188995.pdf

Van Gelderen, B. (2017). 'Growing our own': A'two way', place-based approach to Indigenous initial teacher education in remote Northern Territory. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27(1), 14. Retrieved from: http://journal.spera.asn.au/index.php/AIJRE/article/download/81/96


Acara.edu.au, (2012). National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012. Retrieved from: https://www.acara.edu.au/reporting/national-report-on-schooling-in-australia/national-report-on-schooling-in-australia-2012/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-education/7-4-literacy-and-numeracy. [Retrieved on: 20.09.2020]

Niaa.gov.au, (2020). SCHOOL ATTENDANCE TARGET | LITERACY & NUMERACY TARGET | YEAR 12 ATTAINMENT TARGET. Retrieved from: https://www.niaa.gov.au/sites/default/files/reports/closing-the-gap-2019/education.html. [Retrieved on: 20.09.2020]

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