Hindi arrives at schools

Hindi arrives - Pic 2 - John Purchase After Hours hindi students







By Neena Badhwar

Hindi language is finally being accepted and finding its rightful place in NSW school curriculum adopted by some of the pioneering schools.

Thanks to the efforts of some school principals who, as suggested by some parents of Indian children, have introduced Hindi during regular school hours while others have concrete plans to introduce the language next year.

Surprisingly, since 1994, Hindi has been taught in West Ryde Public School by an Indian teacher Archana Chaudhary for the last 19 years. Archana teaches Hindi to approximately 100 students of all nationalities and backgrounds. The school also offers Mandarin and Korean languages but Hindi has become an important part of the school curriculum and all Indian activities and festivals have become pride and joy for the whole school.

Fast forward to 2014 as Girraween Public School started Hindi teaching by an Indian teacher Anjali Dhond. Anjali teaches Hindi to 120 students of grades 2-4 on all the five days of the week for two hours.

And as the new year, 2016, approaches, things are looking quite positive as two more schools have joined in with plans to introduce Hindi ”“ namely Parramatta North PS and Liverpool PS.

Parramatta North Public School will have Madhu Arora teaching Hindi once a week.

As we move forward with Hindi at these four schools, ACARA ”“ the national body that sets curriculum for all the subjects including languages – has been working on developing Hindi curriculum with a group of curriculum writers and teachers. ACARA will release national curriculum for Hindi language in December.

“This curriculum will be available on ACARA website from mid-December,” says Mala Mehta who was in the team of curriculum writers.

She says, “But there is one catch. The NSW Board of Studies has not signed to ACARA’s Hindi curriculum. The schools which have introduced Hindi in their school curriculum are still using the BOSTES (Board of Studies Teacher and Education Standards), a generic K-6 language curriculum. I hope they do as Hindi curriculum K-10 will be available to all the teachers as well as schools.”

Well, lucky are the children in the above schools that have offered Hindi as a school subject in regular school hours. However, students in other areas still have to rely on after hours or weekend schools.

IABBV Hindi School has been operating since June 1987 at Thornleigh West Public School. They provide Hindi learning from beginners to year 12 on Sundays from 9.30am to 12 noon during school terms.

Its founder and co-ordinator, Mala Mehta, has helped start Hindi outside school hours in four schools taught by IABBV teachers at:  John Purchase PS, Waitara PS, Parramatta North PS and Marie Bashir PS, Strathfield.

At John Purchase PS, Hindi is taught twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7.50 to 8.50am. Teachers are Kusum Chaudhary, Ekta Chanana and Mala Mehta.

Hindi - Pic 1 - Madhu Arora teacher at Waitara after Hours Hindi

At Waitara Public School, Hindi is taught from 3.15 to 4.15pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Teachers are Manisha Virmani, Madhu Arora, Mala Mehta and Kusum Chaudhary.

At Parramatta North Public School, Hindi is taught on Mondays from 3.15-4.15pm by Kusum Chaudhary and Mala Mehta. At Marie Bashir PS in Strathfield, the language is taught by Bharati Dhanarajan and run by Alicia Mehta, a mother of the school’s P&C.

The Fiji Indian community is also quite actively involved in Hindi teaching as they run schools at Green Valley PS, Liverpool, at Quakers Hill High School and at St. George High School, Kogarah.

Besides, Hindi is also taught through two locations by the Saturday Schools of Community Languages (SSCL) ”“ at Liverpool Girls High and Hills Sport High School in Seven Hills. Liverpool Saturday School Hindi teacher is Kulwinder Kaur who takes composite classes in Hindi. At Hills Sport HS, Hindi is taught at three levels: years 7-8, years 9-10 and years 11-12. Teachers are Alka Sood, Anu Chhabra and Smriti and a few others.

Another feather in Hindi’s cap has been India Calling Program ”“ Expanding Horizons with Asia. It was the vision of Dr. Phil Lambert, General Manager Curriculum ACARA and former regional director Sydney region, Department of Education and Communities. The program helps foster and address major role Asia plays in Australian trade and culture.

From 2011 to 2014 ”˜India Calling’ ran the program at seven primary schools in East Sydney region ”“ namely Annandale, Ashbury, Carlton South, Cronulla, Canterbury, Double Bay, Jannali and Mascot. Due to lack of funding in 2015 it has reduced to two schools ”“ Cronulla PS and Ashbury PS.

The programs’ broad aim has been to incorporate Hindi language and general knowledge about India with emphasis on Indian history, geography, literature, festivals, music, dance art, sport and Indian food.

Although only two teachers ”“ Mala Mehta and Kulwinder Kaur, have shouldered this ambitious program, it has all been due to video conferencing that it was able to reach all the seven schools in the program. This innovative program was even sister-linked with schools in India.

Hindi is also taught to adults at Sydney University’s Centre of Continuing Studies. Teachers are Rekha Rajvanshi, Meenakshi Srinivasan and Neerja Badhwar.

Hindi is finally taking root in schools due to the hard yards put in by devoted members, teachers and parents of the Indian community.   Not only will it help foster and strengthen relations between India and Australia, our coming generations will also get the opportunity to learn the language of their parents and stay connected with India.

It has been a long journey but Hindi has finally arrived. Shall we say ”˜Jai Ho’ to all who have made it possible!


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