The University of Victoria is launching a new French program to respond to the shortage of French teachers in B.C.
The French Post-Degree Professional Program (PDPP) will be a pilot program introduced in September.
According to UVic, many parents in B.C. are eager to enroll their children in French language programs, but the province is faced with a shortage of qualified Francophone and French immersion teachers. The new program is designed to address the need for French teachers on the south half of Vancouver Island.
“Up until now, if you wanted to be a French teacher or a Francophone program teacher and you went to UVic, you would take the English program, you’d do a practicum in French, you might have a course in French hopefully, but then you’d land in a French classroom,” said program coordinator Madeleine Challies. “So the big difference is most of the courses will be in French.”
A part of the program is connecting teachers to school districts and other French immersion teachers. Before creating the program, the project team engaged in consultations with the Conseil Scolaire Francophone (CSF) and French educators from the school districts 61, 62, 63, and 64 to gather feedback on the curriculum and language priorities. Plus the team contacted other program managers at different Canadian universities to identify relevant challenges.
“UVic is proud to work with our local, provincial and federal collaborators to meet the growing demand for French language education and resources in our K to 12 system,” said Elizabeth Croft, vice-president academic and provost. “Through our Faculty of Education, UVic is well positioned to support that need while ensuring that diverse cultural traditions and histories are integrated into the curriculum and instruction.”
One of the biggest challenges French language educators in B.C. have is the availability of relevant and accessible resources in French. In response, this new program at UVic will launch alongside a new French language resource collection at the UVic library. Developed with over 90 French program educators across the province, the collection will have literacy resources including children’s books, novels, pedagogical guides and textbooks.
The program takes 16 months to complete and UVic is looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of students in the fall.