The Bush Administration has identified Hindi among half a dozen critical foreign languages vital for its national security. It now plans to spend millions of dollars in the coming years to recruit experts of these languages — Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian and Hindi — to teach students from kindergarten to universities.
The National Security Language Initiative aimed to strengthen the national security and prosperity in 21st century was launched by the US President, George Bush, at the US University Presidents Summit on International Education, on Wednesday. ‘‘We’re going to teach our kids how to speak important languages. We’ll welcome teachers here to help teach our kids how to speak languages,’’ Bush said while introducing the programme.
A post 9 / 11 initiative based on the US experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush said: ‘‘This programme is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this country in the short-term and protect it in the long-term by spreading freedom.’’
With an initial proposed budget of $114 million in 2007, the National Security Language Initiative, the project has three broader goals. First is to expand the number of Americans mastering “critical need” languages and start at a younger age.
Second is to increase the number of advanced-level speakers of foreign languages with an emphasis on “critical needs” languages.
By 2009 it aims to produce 2,000 advance speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian, Hindi and Central Asian languages.
Finally, the initiative aims to increase number of foreign language teachers and resources by establishing the National Language Service Corps for Americans with proficiencies in critical languages to serve the nation.