By Balwant Sanghera
VANCOUVER: It is great news for the well-wishers of the Punjabi language, the third most spoken language in Canada, that Simon Fraser University (SFU) here will offer two Punjabi classes in the fall at its Surrey campus.
Two Introduction to Punjabi 1 sections –named Lang 148 – will be offered as the campus begins its fall session in September. It is a special topic language course for up to 24 students each. These classes will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. and Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.
The SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has similar plans for the Spring semester. If there is sufficient interest, it will consider re-establishing LANG 106 (Introduction to Punjabi 1) and Lang 156 (Introduction to Punjabi 2).
The Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) is very thankful to Dr. Andrew Petter, President of the SFU, and his team for responding positively to our request. PLEA would also like to thank Herb Dhaliwal for his assistance in this matter.
Representatives of PLEA met with Dr. Petter recently and requested him to look into the possibility of offering Punjabi classes at SFU’s Surrey campus. We are pleased that our request has received favourable consideration.
In our brief presented to Dr.Petter, we have also requested SFU to look into the possibility of offering a four-year degree program as well as teacher training for teachers of Punjabi. Also, we have urged the SFU to work with PLEA and the Punjabi community in establishing a chair in Punjabi language and literature.
Initiatives like these will go a long way towards promoting mutual co-operation between the Punjabi community and one of the foremost academic institutions in Canada.
Moreover, Surrey being the centre of Punjabi language and culture will be an ideal location for such endeavours.
(Balwant Sanghera, who is based in Richmond in British Columbia, is the president of the Punjabi Language Education Association or PLEA)