Jun 14, 2024

Kevyn Malong is concerned that school overcrowding impacts students from immigrant families.

Schools across Surrey and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia have been struggling to find ways to solve overcrowding in classrooms.

With overcrowded schools, are the students getting the help that they require?

 As a second generation Canadian-Filipino, I am concerned about the overcrowding within schools, not only for my own learning, but for future Filipino generations moving to Canada for better education and a better future.

Learning curriculum in the Philippines is much different than in Canada. Students need help from their parents to learn well. But for children of immigrants, that help may not be available due to circumstances.

Most Filipino parents end up with new jobs that are sometimes very different from their former jobs. Many Filipino parents cannot use their work experiences from the Philippines. They sometimes need to do several jobs to make ends meet. They sacrifice a lot when they move away, leaving friends, family members and a stable job, all for the future of the family.

But how good is that sacrifice if their kids do not get good education in Canada?

In overcrowded schools, teachers may not be able to support students adequately. School overcrowding affects specially those students who cannot get help from family members at home because their family members learned differently, or are too busy with several jobs.

Furthermore, if the classrooms become overcrowded, assistance from the teacher is spread thinly among the students. Some students require more attention than others. Not everyone is able to understand the concept right on the spot, and need more time or assistance to learn. If a teacher doesn’t have time to help everyone due to overcrowding, will students learn adequately? Will they be ready for the future?

As a student, I usually require assistance in my subjects. Whether it is the beginning of a new unit or questions half-way during a project, students such as myself have questions about what we are learning. But the problem is that the teachers have to assist many other students. Often, I find myself waiting five to 15 minutes at a time to have my question answered by the teacher.  Instead of using the time to study, the time is now used up for pointless waiting. The population is increasing, so shouldn’t the amount of schools and teachers also be increased?

For students born in Canada from immigrant families, the sacrifice of moving to Canada has become a risk rather than a benefit with overcrowded schools.

Kevyn Malong’s parents were born and raised in the Philippines. He grew up in Vancouver, B.C., and is now a Grade 12 student at the Clayton Heights Secondary School in Surrey, B.C. His main hobbies are sports, making music, and being involved in the community.


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