Civil Conflict and Social Opportunity

Free Public Lecture

Civil Conflict and Social Opportunity

Theatre Q230
Kwong Lee Dow Building
234 Queensberry Street


More information

Jack Keating Memorial Lecture

In recent years the formulation of language education policies has been elevated from the bureaucratic margins and from academic abstraction.Today we can truly consider the activity of language and literacy education policy to be a question of major political importance.

Four main reasons account for this dramatic shift. First, all across the world the vast transfers of population that characterise the contemporary age have produced multilingual and multiethnic societies. Second, the internationalisation of education means that a global market of credentialing is firmly in place challenging national systems of certification and quality. Third, there is now both international pressure and bottom up demands to establish reparative schemes of justice in education to redress oppressive policies of Indigenous assimilation. Finally, the galvanisation of the world into gigantic interdependent trading blocs has made the management of communication a critical issue of trade policy. Language policies therefore respond to demands for social justice, imperatives of economic efficiency and public programs of productive citizenship.

This lecture will critically evaluate how Australia performs in language education for the complex demands of an internationally engaged, multicultural trading economy, enmeshed in systems which complicate the capacity of governments and education systems to manage their own affairs. In recent decades Australia has been a pioneer in its efforts of formulating explicit, coordinated and comprehensive policy to meet the communication needs of a contemporary society at the cross roads between its Indigenous foundations, European settlement and Asian geographic, strategic and economic location, but today lags badly behind the innovative commitments that we witness in other parts of the world.


  • Professor Joseph Lo Bianco
    Professor Joseph Lo Bianco, Chair in Language and Literacy Education