Desis in the UK wants 10 Indian languages ​​in the school curriculum

LONDON – Community leaders from the Indian diaspora in Britain have delivered a memorandum addressed to education secretary Gillian Keegan calling for 10 Indian languages ​​to be added to the national curriculum in England. The memo was handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission’s education department in London on Tuesday.
“As a vibrant and inclusive society, it is time for UK students to learn these languages ​​as part of their school curriculum,” states the letter from Harmeet Singh Bhakna, Director of the Punjabi Language Awareness Board UK. He is calling for Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Nepali, Malayalam, Hindi, Telugu and Marathi to be added to the national curriculum that all local authority-sponsored schools in England must follow. These languages, in this order, are the top 10 South Asian languages ​​spoken as a primary language in England, according to the 2021 census. Although the government does not prescribe which languages ​​are taught, schools generally only teach French, German and Spanish .
Bhakna said, “I requested several times for Punjabi to be added to the curriculum but they always said that because of the Equality Act they cannot add it, so now we request 10 languages ​​to be added to the curriculum and we get the same treatment as French. . We are waiting for an answer and they cannot say that the Equality Act is preventing this. ”
Currently, if students ask to learn another language, the school usually says they don’t have the budget and refuses, and the children have to learn outside the school and pay out of pocket. Many British Indian children are learning Punjabi outside of school in gurdwaras.
Bhakna and CK Naidu, representing Sanathan Sanstha UK, which is behind the campaign, want South Asian languages ​​to be taught in all schools in England so that Britain can make the most of its Brexit dividend . They don’t just want the languages ​​taught in areas where there is a high concentration of students with South Asian heritage. “The main thing is to empower the nation of the UK and build stronger relationships with the countries of South Asia,” said Bhakna.
“The teaching of these languages ​​would help in the integration of the South Asian community with the English community and within the South Asian community. You saw the clashes in Leicester,” he said. “When you speak to someone in their own language, business flourishes and you understand the other person’s culture,” said Naidu, highlighting the importance of Indian languages ​​now that UK-India trade ties are growing.

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