Punjabi on the Move in Canada
Surrey, Vancouver, Oct. 25, 2009
Canadas Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney recently remarked that
soon Punjabi will become this countrys fourth most spoken language.
These comments have received widespread coverage especially in the
Indo-Canadian media. The 2006 census figures placed Punjabi as the
sixth most spoken language. There was only a small difference of
a few thousand between Punjabi speakers and those of German and
Italian speakers. If current immigration trends continue Punjabi
will definitely become the sixth most spoken language in Canada
after English, French and Chinese after the next census slated for
2011. This is very encouraging news for the speakers of Punjabi.
In the meantime, efforts by various Gurdwaras, Khalsa schools and
other organizations in promoting Punjabi are commendable. In this
context, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA Canada) has
been working tirelessly for more than fifteen years.
As a result of our collective efforts, Punjabi classes are under
way in various Metro Vancouver schools and other places in Canada.
Delta and Burnaby are the latest school districts to offer Punjabi
classes at North Delta Secondary and Burnaby South Secondary schools
respectively. Punjab is continuing to be offered at three elementary
and six secondary schools in Surrey. About 1,000 students are currently
enrolled in Punjabi classes in various Surrey schools Also, New
Westminster Secondary and Queensborough Middle schools in New Westminster
and Walter Moberly elementary school in Vancouver continue to offer
Punjabi as part of the regular school curriculum.
In Abbotsford, it is very encouraging to note the progress being
made on this front. In this Fraser Valley hub of our community,
Punjabi classes are under way in one elementary, three middle and
one secondary schools. Close to 400 students are taking advantage
of this opportunity.
At the post secondary level, Punjabi classes are in full swing
at UBC and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Hopefully, beginning
January 2010, Punjabi 102 and 103 classes will get under way at
University of the Fraser Valley as well.
PLEA would like to urge parents and students to lobby for more Punjabi
classes wherever feasible in BCs public schools and post secondary
institutions. Efforts are already under way to have Punjabi classes
in schools like Byrne Creek Secondary in Burnaby and Cindrich Elementary
and Frank Hurt Secondary Schools in Surrey. Usually the school requires
25 students to make a class feasible. As a first step in this regard,
parents should get to-gether and approach the school principal.
PLEA would be pleased to offer any assistance in this regard.
Every year, in order to encourage students taking Punjabi, PLEA
holds a student speech contest to celebrate Punjabi in our schools
and post secondary institutions. This years competition will be
held on Sunday November 8 at Frank Hurt Secondary School (13940-77
Avenue) in Surrey from 1:30 to 4 PM.Participating students will
be divided into three levels according to their language ability.
These will be beginners, advanced and impromptu. Topics will be
very contemporary and relevant. Interested students and parents
should see their Punjabi teacher in this regard. PLEA is looking
forward to an exciting student speech contest.
On behalf of PLEA I would like to invite your readers and the community
to join us in this celebration.