According to a report released by Canadian Parents for French, 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 School District 57 has also hit yet another record this year.
As a result of the booming popularity of the 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 B.C., or 9.5 per cent of the entire student body, according to the organization.
*As of the 2017-2018 school year, 1,128 students in SD 57 – Prince George were registered in the program, or 8.5 per cent of the entire student body.
SD 57 – Prince George Total Enrolment Compared to French Immersion Enrolment
BC Total Enrolment Compared to French Immersion Enrolment
Source: Ministry of Education – Province of British Columbia
“French immersion is a well established and highly regarded program,” said Diane Tijman, president of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon, in a news release. “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 per cent 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.