French Immersion enrolment up across B.C.

“What we’re seeing is a movement towards our program and a recognition by parents that there are some strong second language opportunities from within the public school system,” said Glyn Lewis, interim executive director for the lobby group Canadian Parents for French.

Across B.C., the popularity of French immersion is growing. In Victoria, it’s huge.

Enrolment has been increasing steadily province-wide for the last 12 years. In Greater Victoria, 15 per cent of all students are enrolled in the programs for 2010-11.

“What we’re seeing is a movement towards (French immersion programs) and a recognition by parents that there are some strong second language opportunities from within the public school system,” said Glyn Lewis, interim executive director for the lobby group Canadian Parents for French.

Nearly eight per cent of students in B.C. public schools are registered in French immersion, or 44,848 kids at last count.

“It’s an exciting time, but it also poses some challenges that we need to work through,” Lewis said.

Registration capping, educating parents and supporting students with learning disabilities are a part of the challenges, he said.

Kim Currie, president of the Saanich chapter of Canadian Parents for French is focusing on hosting events that build a community for French immersion families, and in turn, may help prevent attrition.

“We’re trying to build that support for kids who are considering potentially moving from the French Immersion program,” Currie said. “By bringing in these cultural events, we’re bringing the language to life.”

This includes setting up tutoring at the middle school level – a time when students often leave the program for English instruction. The switch between middle school and high school is another time of high attrition, said Judy Mas, coordinator for language programs and multiculturalism at the Greater Victoria school district. The number of students who leave French programs is difficult to track, however, given the amount of student movement between schools and the concurrent early and late immersion programs, Mas said.

Of the 3,140 students enrolled in the program in Greater Victoria for 2010-11, 128 students graduated from the program, compared to 61 of 2,741 in 2007-08.

“For me this is an option like any other option,” Mas said. “We don’t judge the success of our immersion program, by assessing to what degree folks are willing to commit spending K-12. Any foundation of bilingualism that is enduring and that will stay with them through adulthood (is a success).”

Lewis added that language is not the issue when it comes to learning other topics.

“If they’re having troubles in French, most, if not all of the time, they’re going to have similar challenges in the English program.”

Funding for the program is provided through the province based on enrolment numbers. Last year the Greater Victoria school district received $416,091 from the province to fund the program. Saanich received $163,936.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Researchers head out from Sidney to explore Canada’s largest underwater volcano

The Explorer Seamount is as large as Greater Vancouver and full of previously undiscovered species

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

Saanich Mayor says ‘no costs asked of municipality’ for proposed film studio

Mayor Fred Haynes made that comment after questions from watchdog group

RCMP identify Sidney bank robbery suspect, believe he is still on Vancouver Island

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Most Read