More stu­dents en­rolled in French schools

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

More stu­dents are en­rolling in French schools for the com­ing year and that means those schools need more teach­ers, says the chair­man of P.E.I.’s French-lan­guage school board.

There will be 940 stu­dents at­tend­ing class at P.E.I.’s six French­language schools in the fall, an 8.3 per cent in­crease from the 868 stu­dents en­rolled this past year.

If the trend con­tin­ues, more than 1,000 stu­dents will at­tend the six schools in 2018-19.

“More and more par­ents are re­al­iz­ing the added value of flu­ent and durable bilin­gual­ism and the im­por­tance of be­ing able to com­mu­ni­cate in Canada’s two of­fi­cial lan­guages to pre­pare stu­dents to be job-ready af­ter high school,” said Émile Gal­lant, board chair­man for the Com­mis­sion sco­laire de langue française (CSLF).

To ac­co­mo­date the in­crease in stu­dents, the CSLF says it needs five ad­di­tional teach­ers this fall.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to two new hires.

“We ex­pected to get five ad­di­tional teach­ers pre­vi­ously de­nied, so we are even more dis­ap­pointed in get­ting only two po­si­tions in spite of an 8.3 per cent in­crease,” said Gal­lant.

“This makes no sense.”

The P.E.I. gov­ern­ment has added 25 teach­ers for English-lan­guage schools this com­ing year, in ad­di­tion to 28 new teach­ers in the English sys­tem in 2015.

If the board does reach more than 1,000 stu­dents, Gal­lant said, it will be the high­est num­ber of stu­dents at­tend­ing French-lan­guage schools since the prov­ince con­sol­i­dated schools be­gin­ning in the 1950s.

He also noted par­ents ap­pre­ci­ate the strong cul­tural com­po­nent in French lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion in P.E.I. and the board has been do­ing more pro­mo­tion.

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