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Cultural diversity is central to current world factors and is therefore vital in school systems to prepare children for real world experiences. In recent history the government has been wanting to be seen as committed to developing multicultural educational policies and practices. It realises the importance of this issue in the community given that a large percentage of Australians now originate from other countries. Victorians originate from 208 countries and speak 151 languages. 44 per cent of Victorians are first generation Australians. Multicultural educational policies have progressed from simple ESL programs into a much broader range of critiques and is now often referred to as intercultural education. Multiculturalism is seen more of as an advantage and a progressive ideology more than “something we have to have”, and because of this policies and attitudes are changing to take advantage of this phenomenon. The educational department has created a document outlining its multicultural policies to primary and secondary schools. In its policy it encourages schools to develop a school ethos that responds to the needs of multiculturalism by identifying and incorporating practices into its community. Schools are also asked to educate staff in this area and to quickly identify and react to any prejudice, racism or ethnic stereotyping. In the education departments practices they have introduced ESL, LOTE and intercultural studies. They encourage the employment and training of staff from varying ethnic backgrounds and have stated that they intend to have multicultural perspectives delivered across all eight key learning areas by 2006.


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