Funding for language programs is provided by the Federal Government through the School Languages Program (the SLP was called the LOTE element at the time the research was undertaken) and through supplementary sources such as the NALSAS program.
When NALSAS funding was available, it was passed onto Government schools as grants for innovative projects, for resource development, and to subsidise student and teacher trips overseas.
While it is difficult to establish a direct causal relationship between the many factors that impact on language programs and any decrease in languages other than English enrolment figures, stakeholders across all systems talked anecdotally of decreases in enrolments in languages and Asian studies since the NALSAS funding ended.
In Government schools in Victoria, enrolments in Chinese and Japanese have fluctuated, although not significantly, since the end of NALSAS funding.
The NALSAS funding was partially utilised in NSW to encourage the uptake of language programs at the primary level, where study of language has been historically low.
In terms of enrolments in the NALSAS languages, as can be seen in Figures 5 & 6, enrolments in Japanese (-78.
By the time the NALSAS program commenced, programs were well established in Victorian schools, enabling them to use the funds to build on programs rather than to initiate programs.
The most striking difference in NSW Government primary schools is that the NALSAS funding was used to employ language teachers and for the initiation of programs.
Interestingly, the end of NALSAS funding did not have the same detrimental effect at the secondary level.
Again, I would argue that the supportive mechanisms in place, particularly the notional recommendation of language study to the Year 10 level, provided a platform for NALSAS to build on.
Interviews conducted for my doctoral research with stakeholders from the Catholic education system suggest that the Asia-focused content of Catholic school curricula was very low prior to the introduction of the NALSAS program, largely due to the historical influence of the study of Italian language and culture.
The comparison of language study in Victoria and NSW, in light of the NALSAS policy, provides important insights into the roles of Federal and State level language-in-education policies.