If the sheer number of speakers is our top criterion, and we want our children to learn languages with the most speakers, Mandarin (898 million), Spanish (437 million), and Arabic (437 million) are the three most commonly spoken languages, excluding English (295 million).
If the goal of language learning is to boost commercial prospects, one option is to focus on languages spoken in the world's fastest-growing emerging economies.
Brazil, Russia, India, and China were viewed as the four major investment countries around the turn of the millennium.
Surprisingly, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia are now included as the top three emerging economies in a new assessment.
As a result, Hindi, Indonesian, and Malaysian would be the top three languages.
Even though China, Japan, the United States, and South Korea are Australia's major two-way commercial partners, Indonesia is one of the top five languages that must be studied in Australian schools.
With the exception of the United States, which is primarily an English-speaking country, the top three second languages in terms of bilateral trade are Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean.
Three of these, however, namely Hindi, Malaysian, and Korean, are not extensively studied in Australia.
There could be several historical causes for the gap between the two listings.
For example, Greek and German were historically significant second languages in Australia.
In comparison to Mandarin and Arabic, the number of people who speak these languages in Australia is now significantly less.
Another notable example is Japanese. It is Australia's most widely studied language.
The campaign for Japanese in schools began in the late 1970s and gained traction in the 1980s thanks to increased government financing.
South Korea has risen to fourth place in bilateral trade in the years since.
Despite government funding in 2008 to promote learning Korean, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian, there has not been a significant increase in the number of Korean students in Australian schools.
Indonesia is Australia's closest Asian neighbor, a major participant in Southeast Asia, a G20 member, and a rising economic force in commerce, technology, and education.
Since 2008, the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) has used programs like the BRIDGE School Partnerships program to connect schools in Australia and Indonesia.
Investing in school relationships and student interactions with Indonesia has a long-term influence on learning and intercultural understanding, according to numerous tales. By 2021-2022, BRIDGE will have formed over 200 collaborations with 18 Indonesian provinces around Australia.
Over the years, teachers have explored everything from science and environmental initiatives to shared storytelling and recipe books, different arts, and traditional practices, and the stories of impact have been numerous.
From 2017 to 2019, AEF's Indonesian Language Learning Ambassadors (ILLA) provided positive comments on the program's impact. Teachers said that their pupils were more motivated to continue their Indonesian language studies in 89 percent of cases.
The Australian Capital Territory follows a similar strategy and is one of the few education systems in Indonesia that is showing some signs of improvement.
The support of other groups is a last consideration of the many ways education can blend between Indonesia and Australia.
The Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) and the National Australia-Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) are two organizations that have continued to promote communication and language exchange opportunities and awards throughout education.
The Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICS) is another option, with a number of digital services and programs currently available.
Source: abc.net.au, studyinternational.com