According to a report released Tuesday, more students in British Columbia are participating in French immersion than ever before.
The report showed that province-wide, French immersion enrolment has been increasing for 20 consecutive years. Enrolment in SD5 has also hit yet another record this year.
As a result of the booming popularity of this well-established program, districts around the province are scrambling to find enough qualified teachers and teaching assistants.
As of the 2017-2018 school year, 53,487 students were enrolled in French immersion across BC, or 9.5% of the entire student body. 548 students in SD 5 – Southeast Kootenay were registered in the program, or 9.9% of the entire student body.
“French immersion is a well established and highly regarded program,” said Diane Tijman, president of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon.
“Designed to help students become functionally bilingual by the time they graduate, the program’s effects are very real, empowering young people and opening doors in so many different ways.”
Since the first class opened in St. Lambert, Quebec in 1965, over one million Canadians have benefited from the program.
According to Stats Canada, Canadians who speak both French and English earn, on average, 10% more, and have a lower unemployment rate, compared to Canadians who only speak one of our two Official Languages.
As well, there are cognitive developmental benefits of learning an additional language, such as: stronger listening skills, improved focus and concentration, increased ability to understand complex problems and higher tolerance, insight and understanding of other cultures.
Source: Ministry of Education – Province of British Columbia