Save Indonesian Language Studies from being cut by La Trobe University!

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La Trobe University’s recent proposal to scrap its highly valued and respected Indonesian Language Studies program must not be allowed to go ahead.

Indonesian Language Studies has been offered by La Trobe since 1989, providing an invaluable means for students to understand Indonesian culture, governance and society, while building up a practical working capacity to use Indonesian in their chosen career paths. It provides an unparalleled pathway for many young Victorians to develop a deep understanding of Indonesia, our closest neighbour whom we share such a close bilateral relationship with.

If La Trobe goes ahead with its proposal, it threatens the capacity of Australian graduates to be able to communicate, conduct business and build strong, lifelong relationships with their Indonesian counterparts in all areas of life. It has the potential to jeopardise some of the key partnerships La Trobe University has formed with institutions in Indonesia, which would be a devastating loss for students and researchers. 

La Trobe’s proposal to scrap Indonesian Language Studies comes at a time when the Australian Government has already committed to making languages cheaper to study for students commencing in 2021. In fact, the Australian Government’s recognition of the importance of Indonesian Language Studies and Indonesian mobility programs led it to step in and provide a key financial lifeline in August to save a key national Indonesian studies program, ACICIS.

Furthermore, the Indonesia-Australia relationship is now more critical than ever, with both countries recently having entered into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Indonesia is a trillion-dollar economy and is projected to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2050, as measured by nominal GDP. Losing La Trobe’s Indonesian Language Studies program means undermining the ability of Australian graduates to contribute to enhanced economic and development partnership between the two nations, including to ultimately secure Australia and Indonesia’s mutual interests in the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region where we both reside.

In 1992, 22 out of 42 Australian universities offered Indonesian language programs. Presently, only 14 institutions now offer Indonesian, including La Trobe University. If La Trobe ceases in offering its 30-year-old Indonesian Language Studies program, it represents dire straits for the sustainability of Indonesian Language Studies in Australia. If this proposal goes ahead, it will be grossly inconsistent with Australia’s national policy focus on Asia and risks undermining so much of the progress that has been made in the Indonesia-Australia relationship.

Please sign this petition and share it with your networks to show your support for the continuation of the invaluable Indonesian Language Studies program at La Trobe University. 

Bahasa Indonesia Students Association