New Delhi: Indian language courses are rising on the popularity chart among American students. The US universities have now decided to double the number of scholarships to enable more of their students to travel India for studies.
In 2006, over 4,500 young Americans grabbed 165 scholarships from the US government under the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI). Prompted with an overwhelming response, officials have decided to increase the number of scholarships from 165 to 365.
"The US education department has selected Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Gujarati for foreign language courses in India," US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A Farrell of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs told PTI.
Besides Indian languages, the NSLI, which has an annual budget of $114 million, has selected Turkish, Persian, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Arabic for the foreign language
"India is very much on the radar of American students and there is a mad rush among them for studying Indian and other foreign languages," Farrell observed.
"Apart from 365 general scholarships, students can avail of benefits from 400 other supplementary scholarships," he adds.
Farrell said the US State Department also plans to rope in proficient linguistics graduates from India to boost the study of critical foreign languages from kindergarten to university through a new department of education.
"We want to create a larger pool of future American leaders who are fluent in critical world languages, especially those of South Asia," he was quoted by PTI.
With inputs from PTI