A case for Hindi in New Zealand curriculum

Satya Dutt – 

There has been a remarkable increase in the number of Indian speaking population.

The Hindi language now ranks third in Auckland and fourth in New Zealand.

Every region in New Zealand showed a growth in Hindi speakers according to census between 2006 and 2013.

Sound reasons

New Zealand is a diverse country with multilingual and multicultural platforms.

It is equally evident and eminent across New Zealand.

The community is on the move and we need the government to step in to officially recognise Hindi language and fully work in partnership with communities and schools in developing curriculum and initiating support similar to that of Samoan and Tongan languages along with the other ten languages.

Recently, these two languages gained its place at National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

It is worthwhile to note that the Samoan language got included and recognized when they marched to Parliament Buildings to hand over a petition to the government approximately three decades ago.

Hindi and Fiji Girmityas

A high proportion of Indians in New Zealand are of Girmit origin from third to fifth generations. Of these Fiji Indians (everyone in Fiji is now classified as Fijians) are of highest proportion and have their own language ‘Fiji Hindi’ (everyday conversational informal language).

In conversation on maintaining our language, a common response from our community is “Hindi seekh ke konchi kariye ga?” (What would you do learning Hindi?).

This is sad!

Hindi Teachers Association

During last year’s Hindi Language Week celebrations, 33 teachers launched the ‘Hindi Teachers Association’ to register with New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and to develop Level 1 Hindi examination paper in accordance to National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

This is a step forward for schools to facilitate teaching and learning of Hindi. The students will have opportunity to supplement credits for their career pathways.

Hindi Workplaces

Some workplaces are recognising the value of languages and include this on their employees’ personal records who could be called upon for interpreting or translation.

The Office of Ethnic Communities has a Language Line facility that has access to a pool of Hindi interpreters who are called upon when required. Media and journalism employees either are migrants who bring these skills or are home grown.

The proficiency on Hindi on radio varies with the presenters.

Very little is seen in print besides what has been mentioned before.

Diwali is also celebrated in Parliament and among other ethnic groups. An increasing number of schools are celebrating Diwali and Holi with their students.

Satya Dutt is a Teacher, President of Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand and Founder-Member of Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand. The above is a small part of an exhaustive Report prepared by Mr Dutt, taken from the papers presented and published by Sunita Narayan, Operations Manager and Teacher at Wellington Hindi School, Hindi Tutor at Victoria University of Wellington and President of Community Languages Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)) for presentation at the ‘Commemoration of the Centennial of the abolition of Fiji Indian Indentureship, Lautoka,’ event held from March 22 to 26, 2017 at the Fiji Girmit Centre , Fiji.


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