School District #27 (SD27) French Immersion student enrolment has increased by about seven per cent in the 2013/14 school year.
A recent report by the Canadian Parents for French (CPF) shows a spike for the SD27 programs last year, inconsistent with the steady decline seen in total student enrolment across British Columbia.
“What it shows me is the [local] French Immersion is holding its own,” says Christine Jordaan, local CPF spokesperson.
There are peaks and valleys in the Cariboo-Chilcotin graph, but it shows this year (319) is almost back to 2009/10 and 2005/06 levels
However, across the province French Immersion has shown a steady increase each year, from 35,636 student enrolments in 2004/05 to 49,450 in 2013/14.
Jordaan adds that most often, local enrolment declines for French Immersion are due to families moving away, but it can be discouraging for local supporters to see students leave the program.
“It’s actually very reaffirming for me to see [these results].”
Over the 10-year reporting period, the highest French Immersion enrolment in SD27 was seen in 2008/09, at 350 students. However, the graph for also shows local lows of about 300 students in 2010/11 and 2012/13, and in 2011/12, enrolment was at about 310.
“That spike and drop I think is more related to Williams Lake than 100 Mile House,” says Jordaan.
She explains Williams Lake’s elementary school French Immersion program moved twice in recent years, which created challenges for its North End students.
Jordaan says she and other supporters locally promote the benefits of the program.
“It’s another option for parents if they are looking at schooling options in the area.”
Noting these benefits include learning a second language, she adds studies have shown the academic challenge also helps stimulate children’s brain development.
More information and the report for B.C./Yukon are online at http://bc-yk.cpf.ca.