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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 October 2018
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 6 OCTOBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Community reacts to the discontinuation of Greek at Coburg West Primary Education Minister James Merlino promises the program will continue in 2019 Melbourne's Greek community has been shaken at the news of the Greek language teaching being discontinued from Coburg West Primary School's (CWPS) 2019 curriculum plan. In the monthly newsletter CWPS Principal Mark Colagrande announced the board's decision saying that it was not made lightly "as we understand the strong history the Greek program has had in our school". The announcement has troubled some of the parents who are already enrolled in the school, including the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM). Speaking to Neos Kosmos, GCM's vice president and Education convenor Theo Markos said he had met with the school's parents committee who are already motivated and doing the best they can to save the Greek language program. "The parents have already gotten a petition going amongst the school community," Mr Markou said. "We have also found out that the new preps were not offered a choice in the language and were told that Greek is stopping at the end of the year because they don't have enough numbers." Even though Mr Colagrande claims that the school's board is still investigating other options to try to keep current students involved in a Greek language program outside of regular school time, Mr Markos sent a letter requesting an urgent meeting with him and if necessary the School Council. Mr Markos referenced page seven of The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development booklet which clearly states that community consultation is critical when a school is replacing or ceasing an existing language program, something that CWPS Labor promises kinder for every 3-year-old in 2020 In an Australian first, under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government every Victorian child born will start kindergarten a year earlier, giving them the skills and experiences they need to be ready for school. "Every parent worries about whether their child will be ready for school. With an extra year of kinder – and all the learning and play that brings – we'll make sure they are," said Premier Daniel Andrews quoting the recent research conducted by community service provider Uniting which shows that nearly one in five families do not have their children enrolled in early learning because of the cost. "Universal access to three- year-old kinder is an Australian-first and make no mistake, this will change lives," added Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos. "While the Federal Liberal Government refuses to meet its commitments on fouryear-old kindergarten, Labor is determined to make sure our kids are ready for school and ready for life. Both Australian and international research shows that the single most impactful reform we can make to our education system is to expand kinder to threeyear-olds." had not done before making this decision. On Tuesday, Federal Member for Wills, Peter Khalil MP also expressed his frustration at the announcement in a statement, requesting a meeting with the school principal to discuss the matter. "Coburg West Primary School is within my electorate of Wills, which has a Greekspeaking population of 4.5 per cent, as compared with a Victorian average of 1.9 per cent, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. "Greek language classes have been offered for most of Coburg West Primary School's 101 year history. I understand the decision to discontinue the program has upset many parents and the broader Greek community," he said promising to advocate in support of Greek language services remaining available to students. Meanwhile, on becoming aware of this issue, Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos decided to bring the issue to the attention of the Minister of Education, James Merlino. "I raised this with Minister Merlino and he has ensured that the Greek language program at Coburg West Primary School will continue in 2019 and that consultation on the school's languages provision will be undertaken with parents next year." *To sign the online petition go to: https://www.gopetition.com/ petitions/save-the-greek-language-program-at-coburg-west-primary-school.html *If parents at the school would like to raise the matter with Mr Khalil MP directly, they can contact his office on (03) 9350 5777 or via email Peter.Khalil.MP@ aph.gov.au Samuel Symons, 27, loses cancer battle First diagnosed with a recurrent brain tumour at the age of four, the son of Elly and Red Symons has passed away Samuel Symons, 27, has passed away following a long battle with a recurrent aggressive brain tumour. From L-R: Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos, Early Childhood Education Minister Jenny Mikakos, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. PHOTO: SUPPLIED If this is ratified, it will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria's history and great news for families struggling with the cost which is currently around $5000 a year for 15 hours – while the vast majority see their kids miss out. Around a quarter of Victorian families will pay nothing at all, while families with a higher income will still see 65 per cent of their child's kindergarten costs covered, consistent with the current subsidy for four-year-old kinder. This represents a saving of at least $3500 for families whose children attend a standalone kinder; a $5 billion investment over the next decade. Those with kids who go to long-daycare will also benefit, with these centres given funding to employ teachers in their three-year-old rooms. This initial expansion of 2020 will roll out to regional Victoria first, covering the areas that already have the capacity and facilities to meet demand – with Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack all set to benefit. In 2021, an extra 15 LGAs will come on board – Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Hepburn, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera. "It is with profound sadness that our family announces the passing of our son and brother Samuel Peter Symons," Samuel's mother, Vice President of the Australians for Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures Elly Symons told Neos Kosmos. "The courage and strength he displayed over 23 years was simply inspirational. "His dignified humility in the face of adversity was a lesson to us all. Rather than complain, he accepted his illnesses with humour, dignity and grace and continued to amaze us by achieving the unachievable. A shining example to us all." First diagnosed at the age of four, Samuel had battled cancer for the majority of his life. In 2017 he was diagnosed with another brain tumour for which he was Samuel Symons. PHOTO: PETER MACCALLUM CANCER CENTRE receiving treatment until recently. Samuel was a recipient at Victoria's Health Volunteer Awards earlier this year in recognition of his advocacy for cancer patients. "Samuel Symons never once wavered in his determination to make the lives of fellow young Victorians with cancer just that little bit easier," Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy said in a statement. "He was a dedicated and inspirational volunteer intent on helping others and an eternally courageous young man — a fitting recipient at Victoria's health volunteer awards earlier this year. "He'll be deeply missed, and my heart goes out to his family and friends."
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