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Punjabi Language in Surrey
Eight high schools in Surrey are offering Punjabi classes
PLEA’s goal is to add more Punjabi classes in the four elementary schools ...Balwant Sanghera

Los Angeles, Jan. 01, 2018 A.Gary Singh

                              In October, 2017, Surrey School District conducted a survey in its elementary schools to determine parent interest in second language at their child’s school. The survey was directed at students in grades 2, 3 and 4. The five languages included in the survey were French, Punjabi, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. The district staff is in the process of tabulating the survey results and prepare a report for the Board of School Trustees. This report will likely be presented to the Board   early in January.               PLEA has been informed that the Punjabi speaking parents have taken a keen interest in filling out the survey form and returning it to the school of their child. For this, I would like to thank each one of the parents who took the time to complete the survey form and return it to the school.

                               For the past few years, PLEA has been working hard in getting Punjabi classes under way in Surrey’s elementary schools which have a fairly large number of Indo-Canadian students. These include Chimney Hill, T.E. Scott, F.D. Sinclair, Woodward Hill and Georges Vanier etc...  Once the report is made public, we will be able to pinpoint the targeted schools more accurately. At this time, eight high schools in Surrey are offering Punjabi classes. PLEA’s goal is to increase the student numbers for Punjabi classes in the four elementary schools currently offering Punjabi–Newton, Green Timbers, Strawberry Hill and Beaver Creek.  In addition to that, PLEA would like to add at least four and possibly more schools, to this list. For this, we need full support of the parents, Indo-Canadian media and the community. 

               In the meantime, on behalf of PLEA, I would like to urge parents, media and our community to continue to assist us in this process. We will be discussing these issues at our upcoming fifteenth International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on Saturday, January 20 at North Delta Recreation Centre (11415 at 84 Avenue) in Delta beginning at 2 PM (Doors open at 1:30 PM). PLEA is lining up an exciting program for IMLD. Well known police officer Sgt.Jag Khosa from CFSEU will share as to how the Punjabi language has impacted/helped his professional and volunteer work. As you are aware, Jag and his team have been doing an amazing job in helping parents and youth tackle the issues of gangs and violence. In addition to that, a panel consisting of prominent members of the community and professionals will discuss the issues relating to Punjabi. Well known   Punjabi scholars including Dr. Sadhu Singh, Surrey School Board member Garry Thind and UBC’s Sukhwant Hundal will also be sharing their thoughts about Punjabi with the audience. There will also be an update on PLEA’s activities during 2017 and upcoming plans.

                              Every year PLEA honours a prominent member of our community for his/her contribution to Punjabi language. This year again we will honour a special individual –Mr. Gian Singh Thind- a retired aircraft mechanic with Air Canada. Mr. Thind learned to read and write Punjabi here on his own in Canada and published a magazine in Punjabi in the 1950s. PLEA will also be recognizing two dedicated teachers and promoters of Punjabi language for their contribution. In addition to that, there will be poetry reading by students and prominent poets in our community. Admission to this function is free and there will be light refreshments.

Balwant Sanghera

President, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA)