French Immersion enrolment sets new record (495 students) in Southeast Kootenay School District

The booming popularity of this well-established program is creating a shortage of qualified French language teachers.

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Picture of group of young students holding a sign that says, 'French Immersion - s'il vous plait'

According to a report from the Canadian Parents for French (CPF), French Immersion enrolment has been increasing province-wide for the past 18 years. — Photo courtesy Canadian Parents for French BC & YK Branch

According to a report released today, more students in British Columbia are participating in French language programs than ever before.

The report showed that province-wide, French immersion enrolment has been increasing for 18 consecutive years. The booming popularity of this well-established program is creating a shortage of qualified French language teachers.

*As of the 2015-2016 school year, 52,545 students were enrolled in French immersion across BC, or 9.5% of the entire student body.
*As of the 2015-2016 school year, 495 students in SD 5 - Southeast Kootenay were registered in the program, or 9.2% of the entire student body.

"French immersion is a well-tested and well-established program delivery model. In fact, this made-in-Canada program has been studied and replicated around the world — largely to preserve and protect native or minority languages. French immersion is designed to help students become functionally bilingual by the time they graduate. It’s a powerful tool in your toolbox, and graduates can use it in many different ways," said Patti Holm, president of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon.

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.

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