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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Liz Walsh

Save the Vietnamese Bilingual Program at Footscray Primary School!

The Footscray families behind this campaign have done an incredible job getting the word out and have galvanised behind them the wider community.

For so many of us, defending the language program is about standing in solidarity with the Vietnamese community. It's a statement of the respect the broader local community has for our Vietnamese brothers and sisters and a recognition of the importance of cross cultural communication and exchange beyond merely enjoying a warm bowl of Pho on Hopkins.

In Maribyrnong, Vietnamese continues to be the language most spoken at home other than English. Replacing Vietnamese with Italian, a European language, is not the way to go even if, as the school argues, an Italian program is easier to resource. It would be good to see the State government increase its support for Footscray Primary so they can continue the program.

Gentrification, the high cost of housing in Footscray, is increasingly pushing out working class Vietnamese families from the area. Axing the Vietnamese bilingual program, even if motivated by concerns about the difficulty of resourcing the Vietnamese language program, only reinforces this process of gentrification and the displacement of the Vietnamese community from the inner West.

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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