What the community is saying

The petition to save the Vietnamese bilingual program at Footscray Primary collected many comments left by supporters. Here are some highlights of what was said.

“As a teacher, I have observed the best education systems are rooted in community relevancy, culture and integration. Our schools need to find our way back to this – not discard these unique culturally and community sensitive programs.” – B. Wragg
Community needs communication, without further entrenching isolation through language blocks and social lockdown. Teachers are available and community support is real.” – L. Cruickshank
“Footscray is a culturally enriched area that has a high percentage of Vietnamese families living, studying and working. Removing this bilignual program threatens the ability for the Vietnamese community to continue to be present in the area, and contribute wonderful language, food and history to our greater community of the inner west, and beyond.” – A. Geraldo

Community relevance

“I’m a Year 12 student currently studying Vietnamese and cannot stress how important it is for other Australian students especially in such an immigrant rich city like Melbourne should learn Vietnamese. The history and culture Vietnamese represents in Footscray is immense and it would be a shame for FPS to loose this opportunity to reach its students about not only the language but the history and culture of Vietnamese immigration.” – C. Truong
“This was the first primary school my brother and I went to, the community at the time was heavily working migrant family’s, this was before the real gentrification started and it truly shaped our understanding of different cultures and this program made me and my brother better people, this helped diversify us in so many ways but also helped me communicate with my friend’s parents.” – H. Ring
“The Vietnamese community and their cultural identity and knowledge are fundamental to the wider Australian, and particularly inner Western Melbourne, story. The loss of access to language learning would be a terrible cultural loss for the Footscray community and a great loss to the future of Victoria’s globally connected economy.” – L. Ellis

Educational benefits

“I’m a former student of Footscray Primary School and excelled in all LOTEs studied in primary, secondary and tertiary level. I loved Greek, Italian, French, and will happily study these and others on a higher diploma level to further my pursuit of linguistic knowledge. Vietnamese was my first language, and I found studying it as a LOTE not useful as a child since I was fluent. THAT SAID, being a Vietnamese Australian involves navigating dual cultures including an immediate family and community that still is rich in culture and language. I believe the Vietnamese language being taught in school had a formative effect on my sense of identity my young mind could not quite appreciate til I was older. It is a matter of dignity, pride, and recognition that not only are we a substantial part of the community but we are one that is valued even by those outside our ethnicity. We have something robust and intelligent and valuable to give to the community, and our language shapes our minds and hearts to the benefit of the community.” – A. Nguyen

“As a former Masters of Teaching student, I have strong pedalogical belief in the importance of culturally responsive education, which reflects, values and centers the culture of students and the wider local community. Language is an important part of this, and It is essential for the educational outcomes of students and wellbeing of the larger Vietnamese community in Footscray for the billingual Vietnamese Language program to continue.” – K. Grimmer

Social justice

“By saying we “can’t find an appropriately qualified Vietnamese teacher” is what has been said to women, Indigenous people, and members of many minority groups, forever. It is time to stop this. Vietnamese people, communities, languages and cultures are crucial to Australia’s history and present.Vietnam is our close neighbour and there are SO many links between Vietnamese and Australia. Do your job Victorian Government. Do your job Education Dept. Do your job FPS – or all stand accused of once again of racism by neglect, poor excuses and dishonesty.” – M. Pardy
“I hope this petition properly reflects the genuine dismay of a parent group that has always silently and obediently trusted and acquiesced with the management of the school and the education of their children, and that the school takes action to acknowledge this group appropriately.
Obviously this is a very complex issue, and much work has been done to come to this decision and it reflects the school’s direction (rightly or wrongly). Having been a parent member of my local school council, I know the concerns something like this can cause to parents. The role of council should always be to protect the interests of parents and students.” – A. Le