Prime Minister Bill English has said that he is not averse to include Hindi among the list of priority languages made available to students and schools in their Party’s recently announced education policy as a part of second language learning.
Mr English was speaking exclusively with The Indian Weekender when the question of Hindi language missing from his recent announcement of education policy was raised.
On Sunday, August 28, Prime Minister Bill English has announced National Party’s education policy, whereby committing $379m package to prepare children for the future.
As a part of this package, Mr English has announced a $160 million investment to give all primary school children the opportunity to learn a second language, if they choose.
According to that policy, schools will be able to choose from at least ten priority languages, which are expected to include Mandarin, French, Spanish, Japanese and Korean, along with Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language.
The Hindi language was conspicuously absent from the list of ten priority languages proposed in that policy announcement about which Prime Minister was made aware of.
This is despite the fact that according to 2013 census, the Hindi language has officially replaced French language as the 4th most spoken language in New Zealand ahead of Mandarin and Northern Chinese and behind English, Maori and Samoan language.
Since 2013, the numbers of Kiwi-Indian community has further propelled to hint that Hindi might have grown into the 3rd most spoken language in New Zealand.
The Indian Weekender’s query if Prime Minister was aware of this fact that Hindi was 4th most spoken language in New Zealand was brilliantly deflected by a response stating “I am aware that it is widely spoken.”
It was followed by a statement that list of priority languages proposed in National’s education policy was not exclusive, and Hindi could definitely be included in the list in future.
“Well, that was an indicative list only and not an exclusive list.
“Our idea is to initiate a national conversation about the languages that people want to learn and it’s not exclusive,” Mr English asserted.
“What we are saying is that students should have access to a second language.
“Anyway, the Indian community, their children particularly, have a great advantage as they almost have two languages in their household anyway.
“It is for Kiwi kids who would stand to gain the most by this opportunity to learn the second language,” Mr English added.
“We are ready to accommodate the Hindi language, and we are confident that it would be relatively easier to find teachers in the Hindi language as Indian community is a well-educated community,” Mr English concluded.