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Australian sign language will be taught in schools from 2026

Australian sign language will be taught in schools from 2026

NSW Education Minister Prue Car said she hopes the new syllabus will help address the shortage of Auslan interpreters.

The first Auslan (Australian Sign Language) syllabus for NSW schools will be rolled out for the first time in 2026.

Students from kindergarten to year 10 can choose Auslan as an elective and learn under a program developed by the NSW Education and Early Learning Minister Prue Car in consultation with the deaf community.

While the syllabus isn’t compulsory, the government will ensure that schools taking part will have all of the resources at their disposal.

Teachers now have a year extra to familiarise themselves with the course before it's rolled out in a few years.

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“As well as beginning learners of Auslan, this new syllabus will give students who are first language Auslan users the opportunity to formally study the language of their community, and I am delighted to see it being released to NSW schools,” Ms Car said in a statement.

“NSW offers one of the most comprehensive school languages curriculum in the world and I am committed to exploring how we can make that even better, in a way that is accessible for all students.

“Studying a language at school gives students the skills to participate in our linguistically dynamic world and improves broader communication and literacy skills.”

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Minister for Disability Inclusion Kate Washington said the syllabus was part of the state government’s commitment to foster a more inclusive community.

“There is a rich and deep culture in and among the deaf community and Auslan plays a really important role in that and has done so for many years,” she added, as per Nine News.

“Auslan is an Australian language and we should be proud to be teaching it in our schools.”

According to the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, around 3.1 million people have some degree of hearing loss across the nation.

A 2021 census also revealed that more than 16,000 Australians use Auslan at home, including roughly 4,000 in NSW.

Additionally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a much higher rate of contracting an ear disease than other children, which can result in hearing loss.

Ms Car said she hopes the new syllabus will also help address the shortage of Auslan interpreters.

According to Deaf Australia, despite16,000 people who use Auslan at home, there are only 300 qualified and accredited interpreters in the country.

Featured Image Credit: INTI OCON/AFP via Getty Images. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Topics: News, Australia, Good News, Politics, Education