Desis in UK want 10 Indian languages ​​in school curriculum

LONDON: Community leaders from the Indian diaspora in Britain have delivered a memorandum to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan calling for 10 Indian languages ​​to be added to the national curriculum in England. The memorandum was handed over to a representative of the Education Department at the Indian High Commission 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,” says the letter from Harmeet Singh Bhakna, director of the Punjabi Language Awareness Board UK. Requests to be added to national curriculum to be followed by all local authority-run schools in England. These languages, in that order, are the top 10 South Asian languages ​​spoken as a main language in England, according to the 2021 census. Although the government does not specify which languages ​​are taught, schools generally only teach French, German and Spanish.
Bhakna said: “I have asked many times for Punjabi to be added to the curriculum, but they always said because of the Equality Act they couldn’t add it, so now we have asked for 10 languages ​​to be added to the curriculum and be treated the same as French. We are waiting for a response and they cannot say that the Equality Act prevents this. “
At present, if students ask to learn another language, the school generally says it has no budget and refuses, and the children have to learn it outside of school and pay for it out of their own pocket. Many British Indian children learn Punjabi outside of school, in gurdwaras.
Bhakna and CK Naidu, who represents Sanathan Sanstha UK, who are behind the campaign, want South Asian languages ​​to be taught in every school in England so that Britain can make the most of the Brexit dividend. They don’t just want the languages ​​to be taught in areas where there are high concentrations of students of South Asian heritage. “The main thing is to conquer the nation of the United Kingdom and build stronger relations with South Asian countries,” Bakna said.
“Teaching these languages ​​would help integrate 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 each other’s culture,” Naidu said, pointing to the importance of Indian languages ​​now that UK-India business ties are growing.

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