South Asian Students-Initiatives for Success
Surrey, Vancouver, Feb. 10, 2009
President, Punjabi Language Education Association
The South Asian community has been in Canada for more than 110
years. During this time, it has gone through a lot. It has suffered
through institutionalized racism, discrimination, abuse and a variety
of other hardships. Our pioneers never wavered from their determination
of succeeding against all odds. Fighting against racism and injustice
was their hallmark. They didn’t care for their own welfare,
safety and even lives in this process. Moreover, they never complained
but kept working hard. They have contributed immensely to the growth
and development of Canada. Our pioneers never wavered from their
basic objectives. In this process, our community has been able to
achieve a lot. As a matter of fact, to-day, the South Asian community
is considered to be one of the most hard working, resilient, prosperous
and generous communities in Canada.
Such accomplishments provide the community with every reason to
celebrate our successes. However, it is also an appropriate time
to reflect upon some of the challenges facing the community. In
this regard, issues relating to the academic excellence of our students
always seem to come on top. Children and youth are our future. As
such, they must continue to be our main focus.
A well-educated young generation is the greatest asset for any
community. And ours is no exception. In order to achieve this distinction,
the value of literacy and academics achievement must start at an
early age. The children must learn the value of good education even
before they head out for kindergarten.
The parents need to instill in their children the importance of
education. They must expose their children to an environment that
reinforces the value of good grades and a keen desire for life-
long learning. There are a number of ways in which the parents,
in co-operation with the school, can enhance their child’s
enthusiasm for high academic achievement.
In this context, it is very encouraging to note that one of BC’s
most progressive school districts is making an earnest effort in
reaching out to the South Asian community. Delta School District
administration, trustees, Delta Teachers Association and other stakeholders
have undertaken a commendable initiative in this regard. Delta South
Asian Student Support Initiative (DSASSI) has been under way for
more than a year. This group of dedicated individuals has been working
very hard in coming up with various ways and means by which our
students could do even better in school. DSASSI has been working
on a multi- prong approach in order to help students of South Asian
heritage do well in school.
This initiative recognizes the changing demographics in the district
and the importance of the South Asian community in this context.
All of the stakeholders in this process are keen to make sure that
the full potential of our students is realized. Parents can play
a key role in this regard. With this in mind, DSASSI is focusing
on the joint roles and responsibilities of students, parents, school,
district staff and the community in ensuring that each one of our
students experiences success in school.
DSASSI’s Steering Committee is actively engaged in coming
up with the best possible ways to reach out to the community. It
is likely that it will be ready to go to the community in the next
few months. Then the onus will be upon the community to embrace
DSASSI’s recommendations and run with them. Once these recommendations
are made public, our powerful South Asian media can do an excellent
job in getting the community on board. After all, we want the best
for our students. As a trailblazer on this issue, Delta School District
and its partners in this process deserve our congaratulations, thanks
and full support.