Singapore : Teaching of five Indian languages, other than Tamil, will receive a $1.5 million (nearly US$10 million) boost next year from the government of Singapore.
Community groups organised by the Hindi Society have been running weekend classes in five non-Tamil languages in 20 schools. Mainstream schools do not offer the classes.
In recognition of the effort, languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu will benefit. The funding will go toward teacher training and development of teaching materials, the society told The Straits Times.
Singapore’s predominantly Chinese population of 4.5 million includes seven percent Indians.Students in the regular school system learn English and a second language, usually in their mother tongue. These include Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
The weekend classes are run “like a normal school, with prize-giving ceremonies and concerts”, Hindu Society President S. Tiwari was quoted as saying.
The budget has been limited to $800,000 Singapore dollars annually from fees and donations.
Despite the inconvenience of going for weekend classes at a facility other than a child’s usual school, parents said that learning one of the other languages builds connections to the family culture.