Education by the South Asian Community
Surrey, Vancouver, Oct 26, 2008
President, Punjabi Language Education Association
Recently, I was invited to the second annual celebration of the
South Asian Student Advocacy by Teachers (SASAT). SASAT is an
excellent organization started some time ago by a number of concerned
teachers of South Asian heritage. Its objectives include creating
more awareness amongst the South Asian community about education
and the need to get actively involved in our children’s
educational and sports activities etc. Also, SASAT strives to
make our young people proud of their culture and heritage. It
tries to educate members of the South Asian community about issues
challenging our young people.
The gathering at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey, on Tuesday
October 21,was very impressive.
Close to 500 interested parents, Surrey School District officials
and community leaders took the time to participate in this worthwhile
process. It was a great way to bring such a diverse group of people
together to discuss issues affecting our youth in the school context.
Participants were very positive and enthusiastic in their appraisal
of this exercise.
All of the speakers emphasized the need for a strong partnership
between the school, parents and the community. Every speaker underlined
the need for open and on-going communication between school and
FM Talk Show host Harjinder Thind stated that Canada’s
public school system is the best in the world. Its sole objective
is to cater to the needs of the students and the community it
serves. By becoming more active participants in our schools we
can make it even stronger and more effective. He urged parents
to take keen interest in their child’s schooling, sports
and other extra-curricular activities. This will go along way
in producing well-rounded emotionally balanced and productive
Our community has been in Canada for more than 110 years. During
this time, it has evolved from a marginalized one to one of the
most visible, vibrant, prosperous and generous communities in
Canada. Members of our community are making commendable contribution
in every aspect of Canadian life. At the same time, we are also
facing some formidable challenges. Our youth are our greatest
resource and asset. As such, as parents and caregivers, we must
make every effort in giving our children the best possible education,
attention and care. This was the underlining focus of this celebration.
Two skits performed by players from the Apna Community Theatre
(ACT) reinforced the theme for the evening. Too Busy to Parent
illustrated the lack of time and attention of some of the parents
towards their children. The second skit –My Boy, My Boy,
Ya My Girl Too! highlighted the preferential treatment of boys
over girls in our community. The performers did an excellent job
in raising these issues.
The evening concluded with an impressive keynote address by
West Vancouver Police Chief Kash Heed.
Chief Heed mentioned that times have changed.
Consequently, as a community, we also need to change our approach
to addressing problems facing the community, especially our youth.
Drawing upon his 30 years of experience as a police officer, Heed
remarked that youth in every community struggle with the same
kind of issues. These include self-esteem, sense of belonging
and personal competence. All of us, individually and collectively,
need to work together and in unison in order to help our youth.
Getting actively involved in our children’s schooling and
related activities is the foremost and the first step in this
SASAT deserves the community’s thanks and congratulations
for raising more awareness in the community. It is an issue that
is very crucial for the future and well being of our young people.