[lg policy] Punjabi in Surrey schools:

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue May 1 15:39:11 EDT 2018

Punjabi in Surrey schools: Appeal to parents of grade 4 students of T.E.
Scott and Chimney Hill Schools
posted by: Rattan Mall <https://www.voiceonline.com/author/rattan-mall/>
April 30, 2018
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*Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA)*

*SURREY,* with more than 72,000 students, has now become the largest school
district in British Columbia. Nearly 16,000 student attending Surrey
schools are Indo-Canadians. Consequently, eight high schools and four
elementary schools in Surrey are offering Punjabi as second language.

According to the provincial language policy, students from grades five to
eight are expected to take a second language. They are offered a number of
choices including Punjabi. If the students don’t choose a second language
they are automatically enrolled in French as a second language.

For more than 23 years, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) has
been promoting Punjabi in BC’s public schools, post- secondary institutions
and the community. It has been very successful in this regard. As a result
of PLEA’s efforts, Punjabi classes are under way in eight high schools and
four elementary schools in Surrey and many other places in Metro Vancouver.

Second language is compulsory from grades five to eight and optional from
grades 9 to 12. The Surrey School District conducted a survey in October
2017 in all of its elementary schools in order to determine interest in a
second language. The survey was sent to the parents of grades 2, 3 and 4
and offered a choice of 10 languages as the option for second language.
These were: French, Punjabi, Mandarin, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, German,
Italian, Aboriginal and ASL (American Sign Language).

Forty-eight per cent of the survey participants that reponded chose French,
whereas 21 % chose Punjabi. Fourteen per cent preferred Mandarin and 9%
went for Spanish. The rest were between 1 and 3 %.

The district administration submitted a report about these findings to the
Board of School Trustees. As a result of this, they recommended two
elementary schools where there was a good potential for Mandarin and two
were recommended for Punjabi. The two schools where Punjabi has a good
potential are T.E. Scott (7079-148th Street
<https://maps.google.com/?q=7079-148+Street&entry=gmail&source=g>) and
Chimney Hill (14755-74th Avenue
<https://maps.google.com/?q=14755-74+Avenue&entry=gmail&source=g>). In
order to firm up these numbers, the school district administration has sent
another survey to the parents of grade 4 students in both of these schools
asking them if they will be interested in enrolling their child in a
Punjabi class in grade five in September 2018.

On behalf of Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA), I would like to
urge parents of grade 4 students of both T.E. Scott and Chimney Hill
Schools to fill in the survey form, mark Punjabi as a second language
choice for their child and return the form to the school of their child as
soon as possible. As a matter of fact, they should do this immediately. If
any parents did not get the survey form they should contact the school and
follow up. This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that our children get
enrolled in the Punjabi class of their school. For further information they
should feel free to contact me at 604-836-8976 or Sadhu Binning at


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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