AUSTRALIA: The government has increased the schools' budget by $150 million (pound;59m), or almost 4 per cent, for the 1998-99 financial year. While an extra $135m will be spent on private schools, only $5.6m more will go to state schools. The Australian Education Union criticised the government for engineering "mechanisms to take public money and give it to the private sector". An extra $43m will help schools teach Asian languages and culture. Half of the 24,000 final-year pupils studying a foreign language last year were taking an Asian course.