‘This is a dream for us’: Fresno-based non-profit calling for Punjabi elective at Clovis Unified

April 05 2021 05:30 pm

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A Fresno-based non-profit is calling on Clovis Unified School District to incorporate Punjabi studies in their curriculum.

The Jakara Movement is pushing for the change – describing it as an exciting addition if it is approved.

“This is actually, this is a dream for us,” said volunteer Gurdeep Shurgill.

Shurgill says offering Punjabi could be a fun elective for students to take, as well as showcasing the diversity in students Clovis Unified services.

“In Clovis, we will offer an interim to Punjabi like a very basic like started with the ABC’s. Then of course we will bring in the culture of Punjabi because language is culture,” said Shurgill. 

Shurgill says the Punjabi community in the Fresno area has been growing with people coming from India, Canada, New York, and the Bay Area and settling in the Central Valley. 

“First of all, we did a lot of research. Punjabi is becoming the third largest, written spoken language in the Fresno Area,” said Shurgill.

According to Clovis Unified, if enough students are interested in a Punjabi course, they could have a class up and ready for students to take in 2022 / 2023.

In a statement, the school district says it should establish just how much interest there is in Punjabi studies before taking the next step.

We have met with representatives from Jakara and have committed to exploring the interest of our students and families in providing Punjabi as an elective. We are using this year’s registration process for grades 7-12 to also collect feedback from our students on whether they would enroll in a Punjabi elective. That will allow us to gauge whether it warrants staffing a position or positions.  The current timeline is to process the idea and interest among our students this spring.

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