Pupils to learn Asian languages to improve trade

All schoolchildren will be able to learn Chinese, Hindi, Japanese or Indonesian under a new government strategy to increase Australia's engagement with Asia.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced yesterday that all Australian schools would co-operate with schools in Asia to develop courses in the four priority languages as part of a 13-year plan to tap into the booming Asian economies.

Ms Gillard said that while Australia would continue to benefit from Asian demand for its minerals and energy, the nation must also strengthen other sectors, including agriculture, tourism, financial services, health, education, transport and manufacturing.