First Hindi and Culture of India Program at a Middle School.

Assistant Principal Mr. Jeremy Gates (left), Arun Prakash, Principal of Pin Oak Middle School Ms. Lindsey Vela

By Arun Prakash

HOUSTON: After years of efforts, It is now happening! I am proud to announce the first of its kind Hindi and Culture of India credit program emphasizing  Hindu Culture at Pin Oak Middle School, 4601 GlenMont Street, Bellaire, Texas 77401.

Pin Oak Middle School is a very high-ranked magnet school in the state of Texas. Now, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students will be able to learn Hindi and Culture of India everyday in a formal classroom setting and will receive credit. This school is zoned to Bellaire High school and students will be able to continue to learn advanced Hindi in the nation’s first Hindi program started in 1988 by Arun Prakash with only 8 students. Hindi is a critical need second language in the USA as declared by President George W. Bush.

After the U.S. Department of Education and National Security released a lot of money to start Hindi programs in American universities, and colleges, and from fusion programs in elementary schools to advance the level of Hindi in junior and senior high schools. American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages formed a committee to develop Hindi curriculum for grades 1 to grade 16 in 2006. Arun Prakash was a member of the committee. In 2008 ACTFL formed and funded a program called STARTALK to train Hindi teachers and educate students about Hindi and rich culture of India so that large number of students can enroll in Hindi from elementary to college level education.

Arun Prakash was the Master trainer of the first 4 weeks STARTALK program held in HEB school district in Dallas in which 20 people were trained in Hindi and 150 elementary and junior high school students participated and learned about Hindi as an exploratory language.

University of Texas at UT Hindi department was given a grant to start a Hindi Flagship program on the campus and Arun Prakash was a consultant and was assigned a project to develop exploratory material to provide introductory knowledge of Hindi and Hinduism for Texas World History and Geography teachers. and Arun Prakash was chosen a member of the committee to develop guidelines for the teaching of foreign languages in the state of Texas for the 21st century.

All of said resulted in the start of many Hindi programs in the USA and in the state of Texas including Rice University and University of Houston main campus. But due to lack of interest among Indian community at large many programs closed down after a couple of years. WhileChinese, Russian and Arabic are flourishing because of community support and funding from corporations and respective governments

In the picture. L to R