The Australia Hindi Committee urges Indian parents to focus on getting Hindi teaching started in schools in Sydney
Do you know, there are 6558 students of Hindi-speaking background in NSW public schools? Yet, there are only four schools that teach Hindi.
Hindi language teaching lags far behind in NSW as compared to other community languages. For instance, there are only 3349 students of Italian background and yet Italian is taught in 28 public schools.
Interestingly, Hindi was taught in only one school until 2014. This number has now risen to four thanks to the efforts of the Australia Hindi Committee, and many parents and volunteers who have pitched in.
Kamlesh Chaudhary of the Australia Hindi Committee is keen to see this number rise further.
“There are at least 20 schools where there is a significant number of children from Hindi and/or Indian language background,” Kamlesh says. “Our goal is to try to get Hindi teaching started in these schools as soon as possible. Schools can offer multiple community languages, including multiple Indian languages.”
Language learning is essential; without it, we risk losing our culture and cultural identity.
“Language will help our future generations to relate to our motherland and connect to our roots,” Kamlesh says. “It will help appreciate our rich cultural heritage.”
It will help children to retain the cultural wisdom and family values and improve social and relationship skills.
There are many other advantages to learning Hindi. It is one of the fastest growing languages in Australia, already listed as the 9th most spoken language in the country.
“In the world, Hindi is ranked the 2nd after Mandarin (873 million),” Kamlesh notes.
As well, being bilingual or even multilingual brings many additional benefits with it.
“Learning a second language at an early stage leads to proven higher level of cognitive development, divergent thinking, creative thinking and higher academic achievement. There is better career progression as well, with global organisations preferring candidates with higher bilingual skills in their native language.”
In India, bilingual and trilingual education is common in most states. According to the 2001 census, 255 million are bilingual and 87.5 million speak three or more languages. Almost 551 million speak Hindi which is far greater than those who speak English in India.
Much economic advantage could ensue in coming years from studying Hindi.
“By 2030 India is likely to become the third largest economy of the world,” Kamlesh observes. “A free trade agreement with Australia is also expected to be signed in the near future. The ‘Make in India’ program will increase business interest and, therefore, the interest in learning the main language of India so Hindi will also grow rapidly.”
As the Indian economy is growing swiftly, people from non-Indian background are increasingly showing interest in learning Hindi language.
“We really do need to focus on getting Hindi teaching started in schools in Western Sydney (in suburbs such as Westmead, Wentworthville, Rosehill, Parramatta, Quakers Hill, Quakers Hill, East Blacktown, Matthew Pearce, Caddies Creek, John Palmer, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea) and South Western Sydney (Dalmeny, Greenway, Hoxton Park, Casula),” Kamlesh stresses.
“For this, we need volunteer parents who can help their children learn their own language in school hours. If your school has enough population of Hindi or Indian language speakers you could meet the school principal and also the P&C (Parents and Citizens Committee) and make a request, in writing, to start Hindi lessons at the school.”
A petition could be started too to help gather support of other parents in the school and demonstrate to the school that the Indian community want their children to study their own language.
“Please call or email us and we can provide a sample to you,” Kamlesh urges.
Looking forward, the department will need more Hindi teachers. “We urge teachers of Hindi language background to qualify themselves as a community language teacher.”
To start community language lessons at a school, the principal needs to make an application to the Department of Education. The last date to submit this application is 27 May, 2016.
“The responsibility lies with the Indian school community to raise their voice,” Kamlesh urges. “The Australia Hindi Committee and other leaders are there to help and guide.”
To learn more about how you can do you bit to have your children learning Hindi at their own schools, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kamlesh Chaudhary on 0410 583 282.