Student enrolment provincewide, including in Vernon, may be declining, but not for French immersion.
According to a recent report, more students in B.C. are participating in French language programs than ever before. Province-wide, French Immersion enrolment has been increasing for 16 consecutive years. The booming popularity of this well-established program is putting pressure on many local school boards to accommodate the growing demand from families.
Over the past six years, overall enrolment in Vernon decreased by 920 students, or 10.2 per cent. Over the same time-frame, French immersion enrolment in Vernon has increased by 141 students, or 15.4 per cent.
“We believe French programs are popular in Vernon because they are widely recognized by parents as providing young students with the tools and experiences that will enrich their lives and help them prepare for the future,” said Patti Holm, president Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon.
“We urge parents, educators, and local decision makers to work together to plan for French immersion growth and to improve learning outcomes through standardized benchmarks and authentic learning experiences,” she said.
The 2014 State of French Second Language in BC & YK report, shows that as of the 2013/2014 school year there were more than 49,000 students in French immersion, or 8.8 per cent of B.C.’s public school enrolment.
In Vernon there are more than 1,055 students in French immersion, or 13 per cent of all students in the school district.
There are more than 187,000 students in B.C. learning French through the basic core French program, or one-third of all students.