After one year, the School of Foreign Service decided to terminate the Hindi program due to budgetary restraints, drawing protests from students who want to continue with it after taking beginner-level Hindi this year.
“Offering Hindi was always considered by SFS to be a one-year experiment in order to assess student interest,” said Charles King, SFS faculty chairman.
Although pleased with the Hindi course, King said that the SFS had to work with the Faculty of Language and Linguistics to decide the future of the program.
“Despite our energetic efforts to secure a partnership arrangement with FLL, we were unsuccessful in finding agreement on funding a three-year position to teach Hindi because of budgetary and other constraints within FLL,” he said. “SFS cannot continue to fund and administer Hindi on our own, as we have been doing this past year,” he added.
King elaborated that only a three-year position would guarantee that students would be able to reach the intermediate level of language study.
ilan Suri (COL ’11), who took the Hindi class in both the fall and spring semesters, said that most of the 14 students in the two classes petitioned to have the class reinstated. “We’re constantly writing letters,” he said.
“I’m going to keep lobbying until it is back,” he said, adding that he is making the creation of a Hindi department a personal long-term goal at Georgetown. He said he hopes that the students in his Hindi class this year will continue to take the language off-campus if it is not offered at Georgetown.
“To not be able to have that option as a second year is kind of a downer, and it’s somewhat unfair,” Suri said. “Unfortunately, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do next year.”
In a letter to Elizabeth Andretta, associate dean and director of undergraduate program for the SFS, Madhu Maheshwari, who taught both Hindi classes, said that teaching the course was the most rewarding experience for her.
“These Hindi classes have represented the core slogan of India: `Unity in Diversity.’ In fact, the students have created a very vivid, vivacious and energetic atmosphere in the classrooms, which concluded in synchronized learning by the end of the semester,” she said.
aheshwari offered to teach the class on a volunteer basis to compensate for the costs of the program if the course was integrated into the SFS.
“I would appreciate, under the circumstances, if SFS would reconsider the option of offering only one Intermediate Hindi class under its wings to foster the interest of these wonderful students,” Maheshwari said in her letter. “They have such a wide world view for learning a language of critical importance and will be our future leaders.”
At the current time, the SFS has no plans of continuing the program without a partnership with the FLL.
“We do hope in the coming year to re-engage in negotiations with FLL and the College in order to try to secure a longer-term commitment to teaching this important world language,” King said.
– Hoya Staff Writers Victoria Fosdal and Max Sarinsky contributed to this report.