Bhartiya Bhasha Evam Shodh Sansthan launched
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Auckland, January 10, 2019
Today, January 10 is an important date on the Indian languages calendar.
It was on this day that the First World Hindi Conference was held in Nagpur, Maharashtra in 1975.
The Conference was attended by 122 delegates from 30 countries.
Since then, January 10 is being observed every year as the ‘Vishwa Hindi Divas’ (World Hindi Day) as a means to promote and spread Hindi around the world, using a diverse range of activities. Hindi is amongst the 10 most powerful languages and third most spoken language in the world today.
To mark the occasion this year in New Zealand, two educators, Dr Pushpa Bhardwaj-Wood and Sunita Narayan (long term advocates and supporters of Hindi language) from Wellington are taking a lead to set up the ‘Bharatiya Bhasha Evam Shodh Sansthan’ (Indian Languages & Research Foundation).
Both women were honoured with the ‘Vishwa Hindi Samman Award’ last year.
The purpose of the Foundation is to advise, develop and evaluate a strategic approach for building capability and capacity of Indian languages providers in New Zealand.
The Foundation invites nominations/expressions of interest from Indian language educators and researchers who are keen to be part of an advisory team for the Foundation.
All existing Indian language and culture schools in New Zealand will have an opportunity to become associates of the Foundation.
Strengthening Indian Languages
Dr Wood said that the main ethos of the Foundation will be to encourage, support and promote collaboration in strengthening Indian languages and culture through quality resources, training and ongoing professional development.
“We wanted to have a snapshot of capability and capacity within New Zealand when it comes to Hindi teaching. We have been discussing the Survey and its findings with the Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli and we are grateful for his ongoing support and guidance. He has been very helpful in promoting this piece of work,” she said.
During the second half of 2018, Dr Wood and Ms Narayan carried out an Online Survey to understand the capability and capacity of Hindi teaching in New Zealand. Based on the findings of this Survey, the priority initiative of this Foundation will be to create capability and capacity of Hindi teachers first followed by other Indian languages.
It is envisaged that as the interest grows about other Indian languages, further initiatives will be introduced in the coming years.
Hindi is now the 4th highly spoken language in Aotearoa New Zealand and therefore a more strategic, coordinated approach is required.
“We have known for a while that we need to improve the quality of teaching and learning resources and this is our attempt to bring all the thinking together. It is our vision to develop an inclusive model that works for all languages, in all contexts and locations. We have garnered enough support from Indian educators and institutions to support our capacity building efforts in Aotearoa” Ms Narayan said.
-With Reporting by Dr Pushpa Wood