Landscape of Hindu Education in Australia – 2023

Hindu studies by Hindu community

Hindus have arrived in large numbers very recently in Australia. There are about one million Hindus in Australia mainly coming from Indian, Fiji, Nepal and Malaysia, majority of whom are first generation migrants. Hindus are growing at a rapid rate due to migration and are stretched to provide basic temple and festival celebrations.

There are no existing Hindu schools in Australia although a few groups are active to establish a Hindu faith school in Sydney. Their target (if they can achieve it) is to start a school by 2025.

Hindu Council of Australia has been running a self-study “Introduction to Hinduism” e-course, aimed at non-Hindus and it has been studied by about 100 students (many of them Hindus).

Hindu Council has started a 9 month long “Counsellor in Hindu Tradition” course which has about 60 Alumni and 20 students in current batch. The course has been recognised by Chaplaincy body CCAC. Alumni of this course are working as volunteer chaplains in Goals and Hospitals in NSW and Victoria.

A Hindu Courses Institute has been formed and efforts are underway to get RTO registration so that formal courses can be taught.

A private school to teach Sanskrit language has been running in Sydney for many years. (Sanskrit is the language in which most Hindu scriptures have been written). The school has 200+ students and 15+ teachers mostly catering to young age students.

Hinduism in Australian Universities

University of Sydney

Parts of Hinduism are being taught under Studies in Religion.

University of Queensland

RELN2300 – A history of Hinduism in India and Beyond, a 2 unit (one semester) course is being taught.

Australian National University

A major is offered in Indian and South Asian studies.

Sanskrit course 1-8 is being taught via Open University. There is a course in Hindi language also.


Has a course in Hindi language.

Many university courses are based on colonial or foreigners understanding of Hinduism which Australian Hindu students sometimes find offensive. There is a need to base these courses on lived experience of Hindus in Australia.

Training needs of Hindu community

1. Hindus in Australia need to understand Hinduism so that they can remain connected with their faith.

2. Non-Hindus should have easy access to understand basics of Hinduism to appreciate Hindu values and festivals.

3. Hindu chaplains – Trained by Hindu Council of Australia.

4. Hindu priests and clergy come in following categories

(a) Monks – Full time dedicated to their faith. Trained via apprenticeship by senior monks

(b) Pujari – Employed by temples or freelance. Trained in scripture recitation, prayers on behalf of clients, rituals and temple affairs

(c) Prasad cooks – Employed by temples or volunteers. Trained in cooking appropriate food to be blessed and offered to God.

(d) Decorators – Employees or volunteers who specialise in decorating temples and deities as per occasions.

(e) Temple builders – Employed to build temples as per scriptural dictates. They are trained in building construction, astronomy and scriptures.

Hindu students, schools and training institutions

Of about one million Hindus in Australia, it is guessed that 15% or 150,000 are studying in schools. Since there are no Hindu schools, most of these Hindu students are in State schools or in schools run by other faiths. Efforts are underway to open a school in Sydney by 2025 or 2026 to cater for a few hundred students.

Hindu training on basics of Hinduism for non-Hindus is being offered by Hindu Council and has 50 alumni so far. Hindu chaplain training is being offered by Hindu Council. It has 40 alumni and 20 students in current batch. The course is recognised as an equivalent course to that of other faiths.

There are a few private run informal schools teaching Sanskrit and other languages (the languages of Hindu scriptures).

Some Australian universities (3) have some very basic courses in Hinduism or in languages. These courses were designed long before Hindus came to Australia and thus do not cater to Hindu clergy and laity needs. Hindu students who have attended these courses often feel hurt and offended by what is taught as Hinduism.

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