By: O’Niel Barrington Blair
A school board meeting is planned for tonight to discuss the future of French immersion in the GTA.
If the plan endorsed by the Halton Catholic District School Board is adopted, it would bring an end to French immersion from grades 1 through 4. The change would not affect students currently enrolled who would be allowed to complete their French immersion up to grade 8.
The reason for the change cited by the board is a lack of fluent French speaking teachers.
Angele Francis, a mother with three children in French immersion in a different district, said eliminating the early years is only going to make it harder for them to grasp later.
“If anything French should be increased,” Francis said.
According to a press release from Canadian Parents for French (CPF), French immersion enrollment has increased by 5.7% annually for the last 11 years.
Francis said she wishes she took French more seriously when she was in school due to the business opportunities it provides. She said that what her older kids pick up in French immersion they bring home and share with her and their younger sibling.
Speaking multiple languages has major benefits, said CPF in a statement. This includes higher English marks due to improved conceptual thinking.
“Students with two languages can focus more on meaning and pick out the most relevant points from information provided,” CPF wrote.
Canada has thousands of bilingual jobs and with the ability to speak French a person can work in over 30 countries including France, Monaco and Haiti according to nationsonline.org.