Call to list Hindi as Second Language gains ground

But the government yet to take a decision

Venkat Raman

Auckland 17, 2017

More than 300 people endorsed a motion to list Hindi as Second Language in New Zealand School at a meeting held in Auckland on Friday, September 15, 2017.

The motion, moved by Satya Dutt, President, ‘Hindi Language and Culture Trust’ and Chief Executive, ‘Teach Hindi New Zealand’ received the approval of a majority of the people attending the final day of ‘Hindi Language Week’ held at the Papatoetoe High School.

Among those present at the Celebrations were National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Green Party Candidate for Manukau East Raj Pardeep Singh, Auckland Council Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel Chairman and Vice-President, Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) Sunil Kaushal, Roopa Aur Aap Charitable Trust and Master of Ceremonies Roopa Suchdev, WIA President Mahendra Sharma, New Zealand Nari Sabha President Mavis Singh, Bharatiya Samaj Charitable Trust Chairman Jeet Suchdev and Media Commentator Thakur Ranjit Singh.

Champion of Hindi

Mr Dutt has been the champion of Hindi Language for more than a decade, although its implantation as a Second Language in all government-funded schools would prove to be a challenge. Such a move would depend on the individual boards of trustees that manage the schools, availability of funds, teachers and most important of all, students.

Schools offering Hindi classes

However, some schools in Auckland and Wellington have been teaching Hindi for the past ten or more years supported by Trusts and other organisations. Among them are the Waitakere Hindi School funded and run by Waitakere Indian Association, the Hindi School in Mangere managed by Shivcharan Trust, Papatoetoe High School which included Hindi in its curriculum in 2011 and Papakura High School which offers Hindi classes after-hours.

The Wellington Hindi School was established in 1992 by Sunita Narayan, a teacher from Fiji. Over the past 25 years, the School has been running weekend classes in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Newlands. The School recently marked its Silver Jubilee, reported under a Special Feature in Indian Newslink issue dated August 15, 2017.

Mr Dutt has been successful in promoting learning and teaching of Hindi through his ‘Teach Hindi New Zealand’ and ‘Hindi Language and Culture Trust,’ and has been relentless pursuing the cause.

English’s announcement

Launching the National Party Election Campaign at Sky City Convention Centre on Sunday, August 27, 2017, Prime Minister Bill English announced that if elected to form the government after the general election on September 23, he would allocate another $160 million to primary schools for teaching a second language.

He could not provide details of the policy despite repeated questions from the media, although he said that it would be a part of a four-pronged education policy at a total expenditure of $379 million.

“Digital learning for senior students, more resources for Mathematics, and a guarantee that all primary school students will be able to learn a second language if they choose to do so will be a part of the four-pronged plan,” he had said.

It is still not known if Hindi would be a part of the ‘Second Language Formula’ for no details have thus far been announced by the government.

Hindi excluded

In his address to the delegates on the final day of the ‘National Hindi Language Week Celebrations, Mr Dutt said that while almost all major languages spoken in New Zealand have their language weeks recognised and are supported by the government, Hindi has a high-ranking profile in the publication of the Office of Ethnic Communities but is not recognised even by Pacific Island Affairs Ministry.

“The New Zealand government would not accept our call to support Hindi language. Fijian language is included and they are funded to celebrate the week. Nevertheless, I am very happy to announce that the Indian government has recognised the Trust’s effort to promote our language. The Indian High Commission sponsored all our certificates, banners and trophies over the past two years along with other sponsors,” he said,

Mr Dutt said that the Trust will facilitate quality teaching and learning of Hindi language at learning centres around the country thus providing an option of learning Hindi as a second language and development of Hindi language curriculum in accordance with New Zealand Curriculum Framework.

Submission rejected

Mr Dutt said that Education Minister Nikki Kaye did not respond to his submission to funding and developing Hindi Language curriculum, although her ministry supports 12 other languages in schools.

“We will continue our efforts. I would like to see the younger generation coming in full force work with us. Present and future generations are our hope. If we do not promote and preserve our language now our future generations will blame us,” he said.

Hindi Teachers Association

The Hindi Teachers Association was launched at the Hindi Language celebrations held on September 16, 2016 by Dr Joyti Jhagroo and Shireen Junpath of AUT to prepare NCEA unit standard papers for New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This was to provide an opportunity to students to get extra credits for their admission to universities and learning pathways.

Following further studies and groundwork, the Hindi Teachers Association was launched on June 28, 2017. However, this Association has not yet received the requisite support.

Resolution Passed

Mr Dutt moved a resolution asking the government to recognise Hindi Language ‘fully and extend the same support being given to 12 other languages. The Motion, seconded by Bhagauti Prasad was adopted by a majority of people present at the celebrations.


Photo Caption:

  1. Satya Dutt speaking at the Language Celebrations Week in Auckland on September 15
  2. Hands going up in favour of Hindi as the Second Language in Schools
  3. Teachers and officials of the Hindi Teachers Association at the Celebrations
  4. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, former Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad, Bruce Aiden, Satya Dutt and Bhagauti Prasad

(Pictures supplied)

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