The government had developed an early language learning app and the results of the initial run were audited by Deloitte, an international auditing firm. The pilot of the early language learning program involved the participation of 1,764 children. They access the application five times a week while in school.
Early language learning program
The Australian government invested several millions to develop the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program to conduct a trial to see how effective early exposure to other languages would be for preschool children. The programs are accessed by children online. The program for preschoolers is part of the larger commitment by the government to revive language study in Australia.
They are basing their commitment on the research results that children who learn other languages increase their overall literacy, which could be transferred to other learning areas. Starting them young gives them a head start for language study when they attend regular school. It will also make them more comfortable when they encounter different languages later and keep them engaged as they grow older.
The trial phase of the program, which was launched in 2015 will help the government determine how effective online language learning would be for children. This would also aid the government in finding out what would be the most cost-effective approaches that could be made available to more students later. The trial period would be conducted for one year, with the language learning program developed in Arabic, French, Indonesian, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. Parents and children as well as teachers are all involved in the project and are provided guidance and support materials to ensure that the ELLA trial is delivered.
Early results, based on the report, indicated that the Indonesian app was used regularly by the preschoolers, indicating that it was easier for them to use the language. With the results, the federal government is now devising new science and math apps for preschoolers, using the language app as their template.
Although the results were positive, the Opposition does not think that it was a success. They claim that there are only a few preschool services that use the program and a limited number of kids participating in it. They claim that with the small number, the pilot program reached only about one percent of the projected 400,000 children who were initially said to benefit from the scheme.
Simon Birmingham, the Education Minister said that on the contrary, the trial phase was rolled out properly and thoroughly and the language app would be critical in addressing the declining number of students in high school who take up foreign languages. He said that the results were encouraging and that the app would be rolled out fully across Australia in 2017.