Students feast on Indian culture
"Namaste" will be a familiar greeting at seven Sydney Region primary schools this year under a program to increase awareness of the Hindi language and Indian culture.
India Calling is part of the region's Expanding Horizons with Asia initiative, which started in 2008 and involves about 12,000 students.
The latest initiative involves 520 Year 3 and 4 students across seven public schools, who receive a weekly lesson with specialist teacher Kulwinder Kaur, either at their school or through the Connected Classrooms video conference technology.
The program also allows students from the schools to meet on significant days in the Indian calendar and participate in cultural activities. Later in the year the participating schools will be linked with sister schools in India.
"India Calling provides our students and teachers with knowledge and understanding about India," Sydney Regional Director Phil Lambert said.
"Countries such as India and China are significant trading partners with Australia, and there's little doubt that our students will be connected through work and life with these two superpowers in the future."
Dr Lambert praised the contribution to the program of Mala Mehta, from the IABBV Hindi School, and Gambhir Watts, from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
"Mala and Gambhir are key people in Sydney's Indian community," Dr Lambert said. "They continue to support us and help us with our plans in various ways, and this is greatly appreciated."
The participating schools in India Calling are: Ashbury Public School; Carlton South Public School; Cronulla Public School; Double Bay Public School; Kogarah Public School; Mascot Public School; and Oatley West Public School.