The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Govt should take over teaching of Hindi


I HAVE been involved in promoting the teaching of Hindi since 1985.

Mother tongue is important in maintaining cultural heritage. Students now not only learn their mother tongue but also other foreign languages like Japanese, French and Spanish.

Hindi is the national language of India and is also widely spoken in Mauritius, Fiji, and Trinidad and Tobago. Australia has also decided to start teaching Hindi in its schools.

However, the teaching and examination of Hindi here is in the hands of community-based institutions.

The time has come for the Ministry of Education to take over the teaching of Hindi.

The Government gives some grants but this is not enough.

I do not know if students learning foreign languages pay any fee.

But, in one case at least, a parent had to pay $100 for his daughter to learn Hindi at a school.

The textbooks need to be reviewed as well.

The ministry can seek help from established Indian institutions, which are willing to offer assistance.

Hindi has grown by leaps and bounds in Singapore, and more than half the students learning Hindi are from other Indian language groups. Their parents realise the importance of Hindi.

Steps should be taken to alleviate the plight of students who wish to study the language.

Shriniwas Rai