“Hindi and French among the most popular languages among Japanese students in schools of Indian origin”
Hindi and French are the most popular foreign languages among Japanese students at the Global Indian International School (GIIS) campuses in Tokyo, according to Atul Temurnikar, a prominent member of the education industry.
Temurnikar, co-founder and chairman of the Global Schools Foundation in Singapore, which runs GIIS campuses in six countries, said Japanese students also seek out the best of Asian and Western cultures while preserving their own culture.
“Cultural learning allows Japanese and expatriate students to learn and experience the strengths of different cultures,” he said, giving an overview of the language learning program at GIIS, which has 15,000 students on 16 campuses.
He expressed his views on how Hindi, which is studied in Tokyo, has become a shared cultural identity for many people in the subcontinent who are part of the 30 million Indian diaspora across the world.
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Temurnikar was sharing the experience of a fifth-year Japanese GIIS student who amazed Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he met people during a two-day visit to Japan earlier this week.
Ritsuki Kobayashi spoke in Hindi to Prime Minister Modi and asked for his autograph on his drawing which had descriptions in Hindi, Japanese and English. The Prime Minister accepted with a smile.
Temurnikar said Hindi is a popular language choice among Japanese students and is offered from grades 1 to 10 in both programs, Central Board of Secondary Education and Cambridge IGCSE.
He highlighted the linguistic diversity of Japanese students, pointing out that Indo-Japanese interpersonal relations date back nearly a century.
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GIIS Tokyo has students from 19 nationalities, with Japanese being the largest cohort. Its students learn more than 10 languages, including Hindi, French, Japanese, Sanskrit, Mandarin, Arabic and Tamil.
It regularly hosts language festivals around Hindi Diwas, Hindi competitions, Hindi debates and similar celebrations in Japanese culture such as the Japanese tea ceremony, Temurnikar said.
“Each student is trained to be a global citizen and students experience the greatest linguistic diversity with more than 10 languages to choose from,” he said, explaining the language learning program to the GIIS run by the Global Schools Foundation, based in Singapore, which has more than seven international languages. schools under his aegis.