Hindi, Urdu teaching to be promoted in US varsity

June 3rd, 2009 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 3 (IANS) Indiana University in the US has been given a government grant of $119,999 to educate middle and high school teachers and students in Hindi and Urdu, two of the three “strategic languages spoken in some of the most populated countries.”

The University’s India Studies Programme has been given the grant from the “STARTALK” funding for a four-week residential immersion programme for high school students in Hindi and Urdu, two languages largely spoken in India and Pakistan.

The STARTALK programme of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not now widely taught in the United States.

It has also awarded IU’s Centre for Chinese Language Pedagogy two STARTALK grants totaling $169,993 to continue a teacher training programme in Mandarin Chinese for 20 middle- and high school instructors and for a new four-week language programme for 20 secondary school students.

The two centres last year received total, initial STARTALK funding of about $204,000. Both student programmes begin on June 22 at IU Bloomington.

The free summer intensive program for Hindi and Urdu provides the equivalent of one semester of university-level instruction. Between June 22 and July 17, students will meet in 20 hours of classes each week and participate in cultural activities.

They will go on field trips to cultural sites and learn about the south Indian classical dance bharatnatyum, south Indian carnatic music, yoga, and even popular sports such as cricket and kabbadi.

“Our goals are for the participating students to acquire the linguistic and cultural competence to communicate successfully in the language, and obtain various learning strategies and skills,” said Sungok Hong, a lecturer and Hindi-Urdu language coordinator in the India Studies Programme.

“Students will have a deeper understanding of the culture and learn the importance of culturally appropriate behaviour.”

Twenty students from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California and Hawaii have been accepted for the Hindi and Urdu programme.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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