There is a serious, and widespread, shortage of qualified French language teachers across B.C., according to a labour market report.
“The strength and popularity of educational programs, like French immersion, is fuelling a province-wide need for more and more qualified French teachers,” said Patti Holm, president of the Canadian Parents for French BC & YK branch.
“French immersion teachers are in red-hot demand. In many cases students training to become French immersion teachers are being approached and recruited before they graduate. The shortage is acute and widespread.”
According to the report, 86 per cent of school districts indicate it is ‘very challenging’ or ‘challenging’ to fill all available French immersion teaching positions.
“This is a complex issue that requires a multi-stakeholder response,” said Holm.
“Future teachers need to know which teachable majors are in demand, and which are not. The provincial government and the Teachers Regulation Branch also need to look at teacher mobility and how to better recruit and retain qualified French teachers from outside British Columbia.”
While B.C. certifies a total of roughly 2,700 teachers per year, it produces about one-fifth of the French immersion teachers needed.