Public input invited on how to improve French second-language training24 May 2022
FREDERICTON (GNB) – A consultation website was launched today seeking public input on how to improve French second-language training in the anglophone sector.
The input is intended to help in designing a new French language learning framework.
“Our approach to French second-language training in the anglophone sector has led to less than half of our high school graduates being able to speak French at a conversational level,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “New Brunswick is Canada’s only bilingual province. We remain committed to ensuring every student has the tools they need to graduate with a minimum of conversational proficiency in both official languages while providing opportunities for advanced second-language learning.”
In line with recommendations in the Report on second language learning, the department intends to support more equitable learning opportunities by moving away from the two-tiered system of the English Prime and French Immersion programs.
A series of public sessions, which include focus groups, world cafes and working groups, will begin this fall. The schedule of public sessions will be made available on the consultation website throughout the summer. Members of the public may also send written submissions, until Nov. 30, to consultation.EECD-EDPE@gnb.ca.
Engagement sessions and written submissions are intended to focus on how the anglophone sector can better meet the needs of every student by:
- ensuring every anglophone sector student graduates with a minimum of conversational-level proficiency in French;
- working with local educators to develop solutions that match regional resources and realities;
- considering expanding local French second-language learning projects; and
- exploring opportunities to allow anglophone students to obtain advanced levels of French, such as taking university-level courses in high school.
“The French Immersion program is very successful and has many strengths that should be celebrated,” said Cardy. “The issue does not reside with this program, but rather, the immersion and non-immersion structure which developed over time. The division between the French Immersion and English Prime cohorts has created imbalances and streaming throughout the anglophone sector.”
Based upon a three-year average, only 29.8 per cent of Grade 10 students achieved conversational levels of French. Less than half of Grade 12 students who graduated last year reported they felt comfortable using French outside of school.
About 60 per cent of anglophone-sector students do not enrol in French Immersion programming, and it is not currently offered in 66 of the 205 anglophone schools. Enrolment for existing French Immersion programs continued this year. However, families are advised that there will be changes to this program in the coming years.
Ensuring every student graduates with conversational proficiency is a commitment outlined in Succeeding at Home: A green paper on education in New Brunswick, which supports the 10-year education plans. Building a world-class education system to ensure students can reach their full potential is a government priority.