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

Plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Two new fast-charging electric vehicle stations unveiled at YLW

Kelowna International Airport plugs in with FortisBC, government partnership

Mellalieu running for Greens again in Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu ran for federal Green Party in 2015 election and provincial Greens in 2017

Where is your water before you drink it?

A new water facility official opens in Lake Country

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Okanagan bylaw officer best in B.C.

Al Harrison of Vernon named Bylaw Officer of the Year at annual association conference

Man accused of assault at South Okanagan beach gets bail

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was granted bail at the Penticton provincial courthouse on Monday

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Most Read