Parents in British Columbia demand better access to French education online – Vernon Morning Star
Parents of French immersion students in British Columbia are asking the province to do more to ensure access to education in French for the 2021/22 school year.
French immersion enrollments fell for the first time in 20 years as classes disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Education Department attributed the drop to the loss of non-resident students, but parents say online programs for French were “grossly insufficient.”
“When COVID first hit, there were a lot of parents looking for online courses in French – mostly at the college and high school level – and those courses just didn’t exist,” said Glyn Lewis , Executive Director of Canadian Parents for French BC. & Yukon. “This highlighted that there is an inequality within our education system between online English lessons and online French lessons.”
The group calls on the province to ensure that French learners will no longer be left behind in the 2021/22 school year. But that decision is up to each school board.
In a statement, the Education Department said French immersion students can take online programs offered by districts outside the catchment area and schools are expected to provide information to parents on the number. options available to meet the needs of their students.
But Lewis said if parents want to ensure access to French programs, they will have to demand them locally.
“The most important thing parents need to do is speak up, be active in their communities, and lobby for these programs to make sure they are available and well supported.
Over 53,500 students are enrolled in French immersion, which represents approximately 9.4% of all students in British Columbia.
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