World Hindi Secretariat inaugurated in Phoenix

The World Hindi Secretariat (WHS), which aims at promoting Hindi language internationally and campaigning for its recognition as an official United Nations language, was inaugurated yesterday in Phoenix by the President of the Republic of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and several eminent personalities were also present.

On that occasion the Early Digital Learning Programme and the Student Support Programme to empower students to become autonomous through self-learning and acquire 21st century skills-communication were launched. The Indian President also proceeded with the unveiling of the foundation stone of the Social Housing project.

In his keynote address the Indian President underlined the importance of Hindi language which he termed as a powerful vehicle of thoughts. According to him, language translates our thoughts to words, feelings and expressions, adding that he is confident that the Hindi language will be further promoted in Mauritius and that the citizens of Mauritius will continue to work for its upliftment. He recalled the origins of Hindi language which was brought to Mauritius by indentured labourers along with their religious and cultural heritage, which they preserved and handed over to the future generations as legacy.

Mr. Kovind outlined that the rich architectural and cultural significance of WHS is a manifestation of the strong bond that India shares with Mauritius which goes beyond diplomatic ties. The launching of WHS, the unveiling of foundation stones of the social housing project and other similar projects are clear indicators of the close relationship that India shares with Mauritius, he said.

For his part Prime Minister Jugnauth pointed out that the WHS is not only a platform to promote Hindi language worldwide but also aims to instill human values inherent in its literature. The Government of India, he recalled has financed the construction of the WHS to the tune of Rs. 178 million and contributed 50% of the operational costs of the Secretariat. On the occasion, he announced that the 11th conference of the WHS will be hosted by Mauritius in August 2018.

Mr. Jugnauth expressed his gratitude to the Indian Government for the significant role it is playing as one of the most strategic partners in development, innovation and cooperation. He further highlighted that the ties between Mauritius and India are being strengthened not only on the cultural and linguistic front but also in the field of technology. The launch of the E-Tablet project and the Student Support Programme for lower secondary students, he underscored, are indicative of this. He underlined the need for every child to develop literacy and basic competencies in IT, hence, the importance of providing students with the right technological tools.

Referring to major educational reforms being implemented, provision is being made in the next budget for the extension of the E-Tablet project to Grade 3 students. The Prime Minister is upbeat that this initiative will transform classrooms into global digital learning clusters.

Speaking of the social housing projects, the Prime Minister pointed out that the Government of India has provided financial support for the construction of some 956 housing units at DagotiAre and Mare Tabac over an extent of 26 Arpents and 10 Arpents respectively. The total project cost is estimated at 45 million USD out of which 20 million USD will be financed through a grant and the remaining 25 million USD will be met through a line of credit by the Government of India.

Moreover, Government has already planned the construction of some 6 600 housing units in the coming years which is in line with Government mission to eradicate poverty by providing a decent house to socially and economically disadvantaged families, added Mr Jugnauth.

Student Support Programme

The Student Support Programe (SSP) was conceived to support all students in their quest to achieve academic and personal success irrespective of their economic and social backgrounds. This mode of e-delivery of educational resources accessible to students on their computers, tablets or mobile phones will enable them to learn at their own place and pace. They can stop, rewind, forward and control the pace of the teaching learning through videos available on the website.

SSP is an initiative of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, in collaboration with the Open University of Mauritius, the Mauritius Institute of Education and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. It is being developed with the assistance of India through the National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi Tertiary Education and Scientific Research.

World Hindi Secretariat

The setting up the WHS in Mauritius was raised at the first World Hindi Conference in Nagpur 1975.The objective was to improve Hindi as an international language and to provide institutional arrangements for organising world Hindi conferences.

In August 1999, a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of WHS in Mauritius was signed by the Government of Mauritius and the Government of India and in November 2003 an Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed outlining the various modalities for the functioning of the Secretariat. The Government of Mauritius provided land in Phoenix for the construction of WHS headquarters whereas the Government of India took responsibility for the funding and construction of the building.

On February 11, 2008, the World Hindi Secretariat formally started functioning. The foundation stone of the building was laid in 2015 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.

Source: Government of Mauritius