The loss of the only Vietnamese bilingual program

The decision to terminate the program was made in April this year in a closed meeting, when the new administration was barely one school-term into its role. It was also the start of COVID-19 lockdown, when parents and community members were struggling to adapt to the pandemic

If a second Italian bilingual school is to be established, why should it come at the expense of the only Vietnamese bilingual program, located at the heart of the Vietnamese community in Victoria?

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Anita Cordon

Having had my son at a school where a locally relevant language was abandoned by the new principal and replaced by a language with no local relevance, immediately disenfranchising my son who loved language class, I truly feel for the local Footscray community where Vietnamese is an immediately relevant language, not only in many of the households but all through the retail precinct and community, allowing for a wonderful immersion program and the learning benefits that bilingualism brings to a growing child. Please don't let that opportunity be thrown away due to inexperience. One language class is not the same as another, when in such a context.

Anita Cordon


"In my work as a doctor, I find my bilingual skills essential to serving a large section of the community. It was here at Footscray Primary School where my Vietnamese studies started. A bilingual program will be more effective in providing practical language skills that can be retained, as compared to formal studies given in LOTE."

- Thai Hong, former student of FPS

News update

SUPPORT A VIETNAMESE BILINGUAL PRIMARY SCHOOL PROGRAM IN THE WEST! Next week I will be moving a motion on Maribyrnong Council in support of a Vietnamese bilingual primary school program in the West. As part of this campaign, we have also sent a PUBLIC LE...

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Housing a sense of self: for migrant communities, bilingual school programs are about more than learning

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Footscray Primary School's decision to change its bilingual teaching from Vietnamese to Italian has parents and teachers grappling with what a bilingual program needs to be successful.

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Footscray Primary School (FPS) and the Victorian Department of Education (DET) should reconsider the termination of the last Vietnamese bilingual program in Australia as it would be a great disservice to the students of Footscray Primary School and commun...

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“Many Vietnamese had been considered not good enough as teachers,” says Chau Cong, who left the school in 2018 after 15 years running the program. “That was the reason many left. They weren’t valued.”

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