The provincial government announced 74 new seats for French teachers to meet the growing demand for French immersion. (File)

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

  • Sep. 19, 2018 6:00 a.m.

Demand for French immersion classes is at an all-time high in B.C. and the provincial government moved to fill the demand gap for teachers with an announcement on Tuesday.

Education Minister Rob Fleming was at Simon Fraser University (SFU) to announce 74 new French teacher education seats, half funded by the province, half funded in partnership with the federal government.

“Demand is growing and yet for too long parents have suffered through wait lists to have their children placed in French-language programs,” Fleming said. “That’s why I am so pleased this year’s student French teacher education seats are full. It is critical we continue investing to meet current and future demands, so we can provide the services families in B.C. want.”

• READ MORE: Pressure to recruit French immersion teachers with increasing enrolment in Chilliwack

Fleming joined officials from SFU, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the French Consulate and the Canadian Parents for French to meet this year’s cohort of student French teachers, seeing first-hand how recruitment efforts are working.

There are 17 new French-language training spaces at SFU and 20 at UBC funded by the province in partnership with the Government of Canada, as part of ongoing recruitment and retention strategies.

While at SFU, Fleming also announced that the Ministry of Education will fund 37 more French teacher education seats for the 2019-20 school year, another 17 for SFU and 20 for UBC Okanagan, for a total of 74 new French teacher education seats.

“Many parents are unable to find spaces in French-language programs for their children, in part due to a shortage of specialized teachers in our province,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Investing in even more targeted teacher education seats will help tackle the recruitment of more teachers for French programs in the K-12 sector. Great teachers will help shape the minds of our future leaders, innovators and creators.”

In February 2018, the province also invested $180,000 in partnership with the Government of Canada to support SFU and UBC to implement initiatives to address French teacher recruitment and retention challenges.

“The booming popularity of French programs has been a wonderful development for our education system,” said Glyn Lewis of Canadian Parents for French, B.C. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been graduating, or retaining, enough French teachers to keep up with the demand. We estimate we are short somewhere between 100 and 150 French teachers in communities all around the province right now. We applaud the B.C. Ministry of Education for rolling out concrete initiatives to help meet our short-term and long-term needs.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Volunteer Fire Brigade continues slow, steady growth

Group is holding a raffle to raise money to better equip its members

Snowmobile club gets funding for approaching season

Money will go toward summer trail maintenance and website upgrades

Another week of adventure

Forty-two youth from Clearwater, along with youth visiting from out of town, enjoy week of events

Affordable housing project sees completion

“We’re pleased we’re going to be starting off with pretty much full occupancy.”

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read