Senate report urges more support schools for French education in BC

first_imgVICTORIA – British Columbia needs to build more French-only schools and increase access to French language education to support the province’s Francophone community and prevent children from losing their linguistic birthright, says a Senate report.The report by the Senate committee on official languages says the federal government is not assuming its leadership role to ensure access to French first-language or French second-language education in B.C.“It is essential for the federal government, with the support of its provincial counterpart, to oversee the implementation of constitutionally-guaranteed rights by ensuring citizen’s access to French first-language education, from early childhood to post secondary,” says the report.The report, Horizon 2018: Toward Stronger Support of French-language Learning in B.C., makes 17 recommendations for the federal government and says parents have the constitutional right to have their children educated in French, but there are too few schools and they are overcrowded.It says the B.C. government should work with the federation government to implement the advice.The recommendations include: improve access to Francophone schools, increase bilingualism among youth, review funding and accountability and support Francophone communities.It says there are also barriers to accessing French immersion programs in the province and programs need to be improved.The report calls on the federal government to negotiate new French education access and funding agreements with B.C. by next year.“The committee’s recommendations apply to Francophone schools, French immersion programs and B.C.’s French-speaking community, including Francophones and Francophiles, and the support to which they are entitled,” the report says.A spokesman for the B.C. Education Ministry said on Thursday that they weren’t prepared to comment while the government was in its transition phase after the provincial election.The report says B.C. parents who want their children enrolled in French immersion programs face barriers.“It is also necessary to give the opportunity for all young Canadians to become bilingual by giving them access to French immersion programs.”Attendance at B.C.’s Francophone schools increased by 75 per cent in the last 20 years and demand for French immersion programs grew by 65 per cent over the same time period, the report says.Schools across B.C. report shortages of French immersion teachers and in many school districts parents are forced to line up to register their children for limited numbers of spaces in French immersion programs, it says.last_img read more