hold a speech contest for students on Nov. 30
Surrey, Vancouver, Nov. 16, 2008
Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) will be holding
a speech contest for students taking Punjabi, on Sunday, November
30 from 12 noon to 3 PM at Bombay Banquet Hall, 7475-135 Street
This contest will consist of three categories- beginners, advanced
and impromptu. For the beginners and advanced categories, there
will be four topics to choose from. These will be: Discrimination
(Race and/or caste), Gender discrimination (preference of males
over females etc.), Youth Violence and Environment. There will
be two prizes each for the beginners and advanced categories and
one for the impromptu. For the impromptu categories, any student
under age 25 will be able to participate. Each participant will
pull the topic for this group out of a box. On behalf of PLEA,
I would like to invite the public to join us on November 30 and
encourage our students.
PLEA has been working to promote Punjabi in BC’s public
schools and post-secondary institutes for more than fifteen years.
According to the latest available information, Surrey continues
to lead in teaching Punjabi. This city of more than 400,000 residents
has nearly one quarter of its population of South Asian heritage.
Surrey now has the unique distinction of being a great model for
Punjabi language instruction in this province. It is a matter
of great pride for our community that at present, in addition
to six secondary schools, Punjabi classes are also in full swing
at three elementary schools- Beaver Creek, Newton and Strawberry
Hill. More than 600 students at the secondary level and 250 at
the elementary level are enrolled in Punjabi classes throughout
In addition to Surrey, Punjabi classes are also under way in
various other communities including Abbotsford, New Westminster,
Vancouver and Burnaby. For example, in New Westminster’s
Queensborough Middle School, nearly one quarter of total school
population is enrolled in Punjabi classes ranging from grades
5 to 8.Abbotsford’s two elementary, one middle and one secondary
school are enrolling more than 300 students in Punjabi classes.
At the post-secondary level, UBC continues to offer first, second
and third year Punjabi. Also, Kwantlen University College and
University College of the Fraser Valley are offering Punjabi classes.
PLEA has been working hard for the past several years in promoting
Punjabi at all levels. It has been very successful in this regard.
However, it continues to face a number of challenges as well.
These include the lack of well-qualified teachers, inadequate
resources and the language policy. Also, PLEA would like to get
some recognition for Punjabi language at the national level. Hopefully,
before long, we will be able to overcome these challenges as well.
It is a matter of great pride for the promoters and speakers
of Punjabi that it is amongst one of the ten most spoken languages
out of a total of 6,000 all around the globe. More than 150 million
Punjabi speakers are spread out in 150 countries around the world.
Mini Punjabs in countries like Canada, USA, U.K, Australia and
Singapore are testaments to the popularity and resilience of this
language. Here in BC, in cities like Surrey and Abbotsford, Punjabi
is the second most spoken language after English. In this context,
census figures released some time ago by Statistics Canada are
The 2006 Census indicates that one in five Canadians was born
outside Canada. Canada’s population of 33 million welcomed
people from 153 countries between 2001 and 2006. Next to China’s
41,500 immigrants, India provided the second largest group of
immigrants-23, 990- during this time period. This is great news
for all Indo-Canadians. This growth in immigration from India
has given a big boost to the Punjabi language. The Census shows
that by May 2006, the number of people who identified Punjabi
as their mother tongue grew to 367,505. This places Punjabi as
the sixth most spoken language (after English, French, Chinese,
Italian and German) in Canada. The difference between the number
of Punjabi speakers and those of German and Italian is very small.
Hopefully, by the next census in 2011, Punjabi will overtake them
both and place fourth overall.
PLEA is very pleased with the progress it has made over the
years. For this, it is very thankful to the students, teachers,
parents, Indo-Canadian media and the community. We must continue
Once again, on behalf of PLEA, I would like to invite your readers
to our celebration/speech contest on Sunday, November 30, from
12 to 3 PM at Bombay Banquet Hall, 7475,135 Street in Surrey.
For further information, your readers should feel free to contact
me at 604-275-8977 or Sadhu Binning at 604-437-9014.