Sikh School's Plans to Grow Spark Debate

December 27, 2006

Author: Raveena Aulakh

Source: Sikh News Network!OpenDocument

At the age of 11, Ontario's only Sikh school is getting ready for a growth spurt. The Khalsa Community School in Mississaugahas acquired five hectares of land in Brampton and is drawing up plans to extend its program through high school.

There is excitement among staff and students about the project, but 11-year-old Herleen Gill sits alone, sullen.

A Grade 7 pupil, she's flipping through a brochure. "It's not fair," she fumes. "This will take a few years but I have to go to a [public] high school soon."

Herleen, 11, has been going to the school since kindergarten and it's a family away from home. She says she's afraid to go to a public school.

Her predicament points to a debate in the community about the Khalsa School and the balance between isolation and preservation of culture.

The school offers a means of holding on to tradition, yet some believe this leads to isolation for pupils.