By Neha Kolape
India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi said: “If we want to reach real peace in this world we should start educating children”.
Reflecting on these words of wisdom, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Couacaud Graley MP recently visited Rangebank Primary School in Cranbourne and The Grange P-12 College in Wyndham.
Ms Graley commended both educational institutes for their strong advocacy for cultural diversity, particularly among their respective Indian communities.
“Learning a language is an important opportunity for students to embrace an entirely new culture, which is why students at these schools should feel a proud sense of achievement,” Judith Couacaud Graley said.
Students at these schools proudly participate in the Hindi Language program, the only two schools in Victoria that offer Hindi as second language.
Ms Graley discussed the importance of language learning and embracing diverse cultures with staff and students at both schools.
In 2012, Rangebank Primary School became the first government school in Australia to include Hindi in its language program for students in Prep to Grade Six. Moreover, in 2013, they established two sister school relationships with schools located in New Delhi, India, namely Bluebells School International and Delhi Public School Ghaziabad Vasundara.
At Rangebank Primary School, Ms Graley and the students added their handprints to the school’s Peace Wall – a symbol of the school’s rich diversity.
Ten per cent of the school’s 420 students speak an additional language other than English at Rangebank Primary school.
The Grange P-12 College launched its Hindi Language program in 2014 and provides instruction in all four language skills — reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Students at The Grange P-12 College celebrated India’s 70th Independence Day with glamorous Bollywood style singing and dancing on the occasion of Ms Graley’s visit.
Students at The Grange P-12 College come from 53 countries and 59 language groups.
Indian culture is flourishing in Wyndham with more than 8,000 residents born in India. Between 2011 and 2016, Wyndham experienced some of the greatest population growth across Australia.
“I’m also very pleased to visit The Grange P-12 College to join the India Independence Day festivities and reflect what it means to be Victorian, and to celebrate Victoria’s links with India, Member for Narre Warren South Judith Couacaud Graley added.