Japanese the most taught language in schools
Konichiwa Queensland - the state's most taught language other than English is Japanese by a very long shot, new data from the Education Department reveals, though French and German remain popular tongues throughout Brisbane alongside Chinese.
According to a spreadsheet of Languages Other Than English (LOTE) at Queensland state schools in the year 2012 - made available online as part of the Newman government's "open data revolution" - this year Japanese was taught at 614 schools, 44 of which were in Brisbane.
French was taught at 29 schools, German taught at 30 schools and Chinese (Mandarin) was available to students at 44 Brisbane schools, 112 across the state.
Language categories included in the table were Auslan, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese and an "other" LOTE language, and both primary and state schools were counted.
Italian was taught at eight Brisbane schools, six schools taught Spanish, Indonesian was taught at five schools and four schools in the capital taught Vietnamese.
Students could study Greek at two Brisbane schools, Brisbane State High and West End State School, with Kedron State High School the only one to offer Auslan, the sign language of Australia's deaf community, as part of the curriculum.
However, anyone hoping to learn Korean would have to move away from the city; there were only five schools teaching Korean in the state and all of them were located in Central Queensland.
Minister for Education, Training and Employment, John-Paul Langbroek, said the biggest barrier to offering a greater number of languages was the lack of qualified language teachers.
"When the federal government announced its plan to make Hindi a priority language I pointed out that Queensland doesn't have any registered Hindi teachers," Mr Langbroek said.
"Many students in Queensland schools access languages through distance education, simply because its difficult to get language teachers to the more remote and regional schools in the state."
Mr Langbroek said that he believed school communities were best placed to decide what languages would be taught at their schools.
The state government's open data scheme is available to the public via a new website which includes 73 data sets spanning every department.
In a statement released Friday, Mr Newman said all departments would release a comprehensive Open Data Strategy by April, setting out their plan for the ongoing release of data to deliver on the state government's strong commitment to being open and accountable.
"Our open data scheme is about providing a level of access to information across the government that has never been seen in Queensland before," Mr Newman said.
"This is data that is owned by Queenslanders and we believe it should be available to everyone."
The 73 sets of information also include the following:
- Government Air Wing flights by ministers and the governor (Department of Premier and Cabinet).
- Registration and information for all vehicles, trailers and motorcycles registered in Queensland (Department of Transport and Main Roads).
- Selected hospital activity indicators, including for emergency departments and elective surgery information (Queensland Health).
- Statewide planning scheme spatial data (Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning).