Addressing the Knowledge Gap: Chinese Language in Australia

April 21 2016

On April 21 2016 the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) launched a report on Chinese language study in Australia.

The report, 'Building Chinese Language Capacity in Australia', commissioned by ACRI and written by Dr Jane Orton, highlights the gaps in Australia's Chinese language capacity and how these can be bridged, through careful and considered analysis.

Over one million Chinese tourists visited Australia last year yet six times as many Year 12 students are learning Japanese than Chinese as a second language. A mere 4500 students are learning Chinese in Year 12 - that's 0.1 percent of the population.

Dr Orton presented the report's findings in a keynote address. She was then joined by Mr Chris Minns, NSW Shadow Minister for Water and long-time advocate of Mandarin study, in conversation about the implications of building Chinese language capacity for Australia-China relations.

Download the report here.

View the full event photo gallery here.


About Jane Orton

Jane Orton came to the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne in 1989 as Senior Project Officer for the Asian Languages in Teacher Education Project. From 1992-2008 she co-ordinated Modern Languages Education in the Faculty, during which time she taught language and culture, nonverbal communication in second language learning, and research methodology to postgraduates, and language teaching methodology to pre-service teacher candidates. During much of that time Jane was also an Executive member of the Australia-China Business Council (Vic), including five years as a Vice President.

Jane has supervised more than forty theses on language and culture education and for over two decades she has presented and published widely on communication between Chinese and Australians. She has also designed and published a number of innovative electronic language teaching resources for Chinese.

In 2008, she produced a report, Chinese Language Education in Australian Schools, which suggested remedial action to improve the quality of teaching and learning outcomes, including the establishment of an Australian centre for Chinese language teaching. In 2009 she became Director of the Chinese Teacher Training Centre, established by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in collaboration with China’s Hanban Office. The Department did not continue funding after 2015 and Jane retired.  She is now an Honorary Fellow at the university and consultant to immersion Chinese language programs.

Event Gallery


Event Information
April 21 2016
8:30 PM
NSW Trade & Investment Centre
Level 47, MLC Building
19 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000