New Zealand’s first-ever Hindi bilingual class launched in South Auckland school
Indian national flag iStock image
HINDI, one of India’s major languages, made history this month as a school in New Zealand became the first in the island-nation start a “Hindi bilingual class”.
According to a report in the Indian Weekender, a community-centric website that caters to the Indian diaspora in New Zealand, the Papatoetoe North School in South Auckland started the Hindi class to offer opportunities to young children to learn in that language.
The decision was announced last week in an official ceremony which was held at the school premises.
Bhav Dhillon, the Indian consul in Auckland, was present as the chief guest on the occasion. Other dignitaries, including Satya Dutt, a leading Hindi language activist from Hindi Language Culture Trust of New Zealand; Kanwaljit Bakshi, a former National Party parliamentarian in New Zealand; Lata Singh of New Zealand Sanatan Naari Sabha were also present among others.
“This is a great milestone in the growth and acceptance of the Hindi language in Aotearoa New Zealand as a mode of communication,” Dhillon said.
“It will remove the barrier in learning for many children who come from households where Hindi is a primary language of communication.
“The classes in this primary school will give an opportunity to young children to learn Hindi as an additional language, which research shows enhance the overall academic competence of students in today’s increasingly multicultural world,” he added.
Stan Tiatia, the principal of the school, said, “We are extremely proud to be able to open the first Hindi bilingual class. This is an initiative driven by research about bilingual learning as well as from the aspirations of parents.
“Heritage languages are important to us, and having 30 per cent of students from homes that have Hindi spoken in, we feel that our school needs to reflect the community we live in. We have been overwhelmed by the community support, and we are looking forward to developing the provision further in the future.
“The roadmap to establishing the bilingual Hindi class was developed by our bilingual Maori classes ‘Te Whanau Tupuranga’, and we have been developing language learning progressions in Hindi Samoan and Te reo Maori.
“We have a committed management team and passionate classroom teachers, like Mrs Sheetal Singh, who have made this inaugural initiative possible,” he added, according to the Indian Weekender.
Singh told the website that while classes have been operational from the beginning of the term in February, the official opening ceremony was delayed because of the pandemic.