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Demand for French Immersion up, parents group says, despite declining enrollment numbers from province

Last Updated Sep 3, 2019 at 12:20 pm PDT

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Summary

Enrollment in French Immersion has seen a decrease in Vancouver and Surrey

An advocate says that's because prospective students are being turned away

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Demand is not down. That message is coming from a parents group in favour of French Immersion as numbers from the Ministry of Education show enrollment has dipped slightly in a couple of districts over the last two years.

It’s quite the opposite, according to Glyn Lewis, who is the executive director of the B.C. and Yukon branch of Canadian Parents for French.

“What our report shows is that there’s been 21 years of consecutive growth for French Immersion programs pretty much in every school district around the province,” he explains. “We think it’s a great thing that these are popular programs that parents are registering their kids in great numbers in French Immersion.”

However, enrollment has seen a decrease in Vancouver and Surrey. Lewis says that’s because prospective students are being turned away.

“We think that’s a significant problem that those two school districts need to look at, because we know that demand for French Immersion in those communities — just like everywhere else in the province — is actually going up,” Lewis says. “Vancouver and Surrey need to look at program capping, they need to look at how can they make their program more accessible by opening up more classrooms.”

Lewis is encouraging parents to get in touch with their school district to let it know their children shouldn’t be turned away. He’d also like to see more action from the province, the federal government, and post-secondary schools to continue opening new teacher training spaces.