Katie Wihak, french immersion teacher at Glenmore Elementary hurries her students along to get ready in time for the school’s big water conservation event in May, 2019. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Central Okanagan schools leaders in B.C. French immersion, report states

SD 23’s school body is almost 12 per cent French immersion

More students in B.C. are participating in French immersion than ever before, according to a report released by the Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon (CPF).

The record-setting trend is highlighted by SD 23’s growth in the french immersion curriculum.

As of the 2018-2019 school year, 2,634 students in SD 23 were registered in the program, or 11.59 per cent of the entire student body.

”This year we celebrated 50 years of French immersion in British Columbia,” said Greer Cummings, president of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon. “From modest and determined beginnings, this exceptional education program has grown to expand into almost every corner of our province.”

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For the last 15 years, French immersion enrolment in the Central Okanagan has increased, most notably with over a nine 9 per cent increase from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018.

In 2004, there were 1,590 French immersion students and now there are 2,635.

That leaves the Central Okanagan among the highest ranking French immersion enrolment school districts in the province, behind Vancouver, Coquitlam and Surrey.

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Canadians who speak both French and English earn, on average, 10 per cent more and have a lower unemployment rate compared to Canadians who only speak one official language, according to Statistics Canada.

As well, there are cognitive developmental benefits of learning an additional language, such as: stronger listening skills, improved focus and concentration, increased ability to understand complex problems and higher tolerance, insight and understanding of other cultures, according to the CPF.



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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