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Ready to sign

first_imgGreek diplomats in Australia have been given the go ahead to sign, on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Education, an updated Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation, concerning the future of the Greek language in Victoria, the Consul of Education Affairs in Melbourne Mr Vasileios Gkokas told Neos Kosmos. The agreement with the Department of Education of Victoria will be based on the almost completed Memorandum of 2011, which was not signed at the very last moment because of the political developments in Greece.“We have the approval of Greece to sign,” says Mr Gkokas, referring to the attempts of the Greek side to improve the terms and conditions of the Memorandum. Greece contributed and continues to contribute teachers to Victorian schools to teach Greek. “Now that Greece has some problems, it will be good if Victoria accepts part of the financial burden for the salaries of those who come to teach Greek in Victoria, we have noticed that this is happening with the teachers of other languages”, he says.In this upcoming Memorandum, the emphasis will be on the need for a permanent institutional dialogue at regular time intervals on the state of the Greek language. “All these years we have appointed a teacher that works closely together with the Department of Education in Victoria and the Victorian side does the same with us” states the Consul of Education.“Greece is working to sign updated Memoranda of Understanding on Educational Cooperation with the state governments of New South Wales and South Australia, while at the same time we have done preparatory work with the government of the Northern Territory”, said Mr. Gkokas. The future of the Greek language in Australia is in the hands of the Greek Australian Community, believes the Consul of Education who goes on to say that there is no point using arguments from a bygone era in order to map a course of action for the future. “We no longer have the first generation who spoke and nurtured the language”. The Australian Government through the national curriculum gave the Greek community the opportunity to be able to learn its own language in the state school system, but “It is the law of supply and demand”, as Mr. Gkokas states. “If the community is insular and does not get involved in school councils, if it does not make it a priority to learn the language, we will fall behind, and this is what is happening in the last few years in Victoria”. It takes a lot of individual and well-coordinated collective effort to support the Greek language he added and of course, we need to spend money to advance our cause Australia wide and on a tertiary level.“We have the largest number of ethnic schools across Melbourne, about 40. The Chinese have almost 13 to 14 .These schools do their job, whether religious, private, or community they do their job, but we need to coordinate our actions”.The Ambassador of Greece to Australia Mr Haris Dafaranos and the Consul General in Melbourne, are contemplating calling a meeting of all the Greek language stakeholders in the near future. “We wish to help establish a Foundation to fund the learning of Greek and we also need to map a common course of action” the Education Consul says.The Greek state will play its institutional role, as expected by the community, and it will continue to help says Mr Gkokas. “The number of Greek teachers from Greece becoming available to teach Greek to the three Greek Colleges to the Universities (Monash, La Trobe, RMIT) in Melbourne, the State School system or to the recognised afternoon Greek schools, might have declined, due to the crisis, however, Greece continues to support the teaching of the Greek language in the Antipodes”, he says.Greece will continue to train teachers of Greek in Australia through the University of Crete. “We might not be able to invite teachers to Crete anymore, but within the next few days Greek academics from the University of Crete will be arriving in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, to conduct a number of Seminars specifically for teachers of the Greek language in Australia,” he said.There is also the Australian federal government sponsored teacher training program ‘Endeavour’, run in collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “Hopefully, the Australian wide application of a Crete University web based pilot program in the near future, that will supply schools, teachers and students with everything they need in order to teach and to learn Greek, will also become available;” said Mr Gkokas, stressing that the future of teaching Greek in Australia is ultimately in the hands of the community. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more