Chinese language education in Australia is failing and requires a complete rethink. Thankfully, a radical but simple solution exists to the current malaise – that is, using pīnyīn (Romanised Chinese) entirely in primary and secondary schooling, and only introducing characters at university-level. This would ensure the focus of teachers and students is on speaking Chinese, rather than memorising characters.
The new year often prompts us to reflect on decisions made in the past 12 months and contemplate whether to adopt a fresh approach to ongoing challenges. Tensions in the South China Sea pose an enduring challenge for the Australian government and in the first few days of 2017 there have been renewed calls to change course on this particular policy.