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Dec 05
Surrey teachers contribute to South Asian heritage learning project

Indus announcement.jpg

L.A. Matheson Secondary teachers Gurpreet Kaur Bains (in red) and Annie Ohana (to right of Bains) have been instrumental in elevating a project meant to bring South Asian heritage and history to B.C. schools. This photo was taken at an event announcing the province is providing a $248,000 grant to Indus Media Foundation to expand its display and create learning resources.

A Surrey school and its teachers are playing a key role in furthering a project to help bring South Asian heritage – through exhibition displays, resources and learning tools – to B.C. schools and community spaces.

Indus Media Foundation's display, 'Duty, Honour & Izzat – The Call to Flanders Fields,' is an interactive guided tour that commemorates the contributions of the Indian army to the First World War, where Punjabi soldiers fought alongside Canadians and suffered enormous losses.

Gurpreet Kaur Bains, Languages Department head at L.A. Matheson Secondary, has used the resource in her classes to elevate lessons about Punjabi culture, history and language.

Annie Ohana, head of the Aboriginal Department at L.A. Matheson and social justice curriculum expert, added social justice understandings and connections to the project. Both she and Bains not only helped form a volunteer corps to assist with the Indus project, but serve as student leaders in bringing it to schools.

The value of the project, they say, goes far beyond a simple narrative from a minority group.

"What elevates it above and beyond another side story…is its potential to empower the stories of others. This resource allows teachers, community members, and veterans to be recognized in new ways, and to be empowered to put forth their stories."

The provincial government awarded Indus a one-time grant of $248,000 in late November to expand the existing display and create learning tools and teacher resources to share in classrooms throughout the province. The contributions of the South Asian communities to B.C. are part of the new K-12 curriculum, which will be fully implemented by the 2018-19 school year.


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