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Indonesian in Australian Universities: A Discussion Paper

Hill, D.T. (2011) Indonesian in Australian Universities: A Discussion Paper. Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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‘I know of no other Western country where Bahasa Indonesia is widely taught in the school curriculum. I know of no other Western country with more Indonesianists in your governments, universities and think tanks’.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
in his address to the Australian Parliament
10 March 2010

This highly favourable assessment by Indonesia's president of Australia's achievements and expertise in Indonesian language -- and Indonesian studies more generally -- appears based more on decades of growth last century than on downward trends over the past decade. In its ground-breaking 2002 report Maximising Australia's Asia Knowledge: Repositioning and Renewal of a National Asset, the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) pointed to what could have been a most encouraging development in Australia‟s strategic linguistic capacity: a four-fold increase in university enrolments in Indonesian between 1988 and 2001, when the number of tertiary institutions offering the language increased from 13 to 28.3 These simple statistics however disguised the beginning of an alarming trend from which we are yet to recover.

Item Type: Working Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Series Name: Working Paper. Asian Research Centre. No. 170
Publisher: Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
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