Wellington Hindi School Coordinator Sunita Narayan said that the suggested body, called, ‘Pacific Hindi Centre’ (‘Prashantiye Hindu Kendra) should be based in Suva.
She has prepared a detailed presentation setting out the aims and objectives of the Centre, to enable Pacific nations to engage in Hindi language initiatives and develop their proficiency.
“Hindi is available to anyone who wants to learn it to enjoy a fully integrated social, cultural, spiritual and economic life in the Pacific, raising the status of Hindi to an international language. The Centre will deliver on a number of strategic goals aligned with those of the WHS,” she said.
Supporting Pacific nations to develop projects and programmes that encourage and help Hindi literacy and lifelong learning are among the prime objectives of the Centre.
“It would encourage the use of Hindi as the medium of communication in daily life and promote teaching and learning of Hindi at primary, secondary and tertiary levels and in community based Hindi schools. We also propose the establishment of a Resource Centre with books, periodicals and multimedia facilities,” she said.
Ms Narayan said that international students from India, who are the second largest group after Chinese, New Zealand could be a good ‘home away from home,’ where they could immerse and share their talent with local Hindi speakers, enriching wider New Zealand.
“There are a number of barriers to Hindi education and propagation in New Zealand and the Pacific. People speak less Hindi at home due to increased proficiency in English. Hindi learning is not included in schools and universities and community-based Hindi schools are struggling with lack of appropriate resources, including teachers and meeting increasing expectations by parents,” she said.
Focus on the young
Ms Narayan said that her proposal is based on the principle that the foundation lies in the young generation where we must focus now, while giving the opportunity to those who have missed learning and or mastering Hindi, and others to express, use, maintain and expand their current Hindi knowledge and skills.
“The concept has been consulted with stakeholders to gain an endorsement of the approach. We are now seeking approval and the development of a model that will support the achievement of WHS’s vision, mission and strategic goals,” she said.