Cultural Diversity Transforming School Days

May 1, 2007


Source: The Brampton Guardian

Last December's inaugural meeting at the public school board began with Pundit Roopnauth Sharma chanting a prayer. The founder and spiritual leader of an area temple first offered his invocation in Hindi and then provided the largely English-speaking boardroom audience with a translation.

This particular ceremonial prayer is a departure from typical inaugural proceedings at the Peel District School Board. However, for a public school board with an organizational commitment to embrace the diverse community it serves, this is an appropriate beginning to the new year.

Europe was once the port of departure for a majority of Brampton newcomers. Over the last decade a growing number of Asian immigrants have settled in Brampton and the rest of Peel. India, Pakistan, the Philippines and China represent the top birthplaces of more recent immigrants, according to census data.

This change in the migration winds has awakened the board to a need for transformation within the local public school system. The cultural diversity in the community and students the board now serves has undergone a metamorphosis that demands a change in approach to remain effective educators.