Certified Portuguese language schools in Australia are closing

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Certified Portuguese language schools in Australia are closing due to a decrease in student enrollment, Mónica Marques, a Portuguese tutor in Australia, told Lusa.

“One of the things I’ve been feeling lately, and which makes me a little sad, is that there isn’t much support, especially here in Australia,” said Mónica Marques.

According to the Portuguese language tutor, there are Portuguese schools that are only open on Saturday mornings and so parents end up taking their children out because they consider that “it’s a day to spend with the family and they don’t want to force their children to have Portuguese lessons on Saturday mornings”.

Mónica Marques, who started tutoring Portuguese in Australia in 2022, said that she has also been giving lessons online to children leaving these schools.

“Schools are starting to close down, in fact one closed down very recently in Canberra [the capital] and I even have some students who also came from that school,” he said.

According to the tutor, this has to do with the Portuguese government’s lack of support for Portuguese schools in Australia, and for language tutors.

“There should be support, not only for schools, but also for us who want to promote the language in another country. This should be a source of pride for the government in Portugal, but unfortunately we don’t have the support we need and we have to do things a bit on our own,” he said.

Although they can use Porto Editora’s Virtual School and the curricula, most of the time they have to develop the resources themselves.

Even so, despite the distance and the lack of government support, they are not forgotten and initiatives are emerging, such as a recent one in which tablets with access to virtual school resources were delivered to certified Portuguese schools.

“But I think that support shouldn’t just be limited to certified schools, which, if you look, are running out, they’re closing due to a lack of pupils. So this should be extended to other types of people who can also promote the teaching of Portuguese here,” he said.

However, Mónica said that they are well represented by the Camões Institute.

Mónica Marques was born in Sydney, Australia, the daughter of Portuguese emigrants. At the age of three, she moved to Setúbal, Portugal. In 2021, due to the country’s economic situation, she and her husband and son decided to return to Australia in search of a better life. She has a degree in occupational therapy, but it is in teaching that she feels fulfilled.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was questioned by the Lusa news agency, but has not responded so far.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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