French immersion is important for students’ education

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To the editor,
Recently I heard from my parents that CCRSB was strongly considering canceling the French Immersion program. This program has been a staple in Pictou County schools for years, and one that I hold dear.

Now a second year honours student at Mount Allison, I was enrolled in the French immersion program for its entirety. For the last two years of the program, I was enrolled in the French International Baccalaureate (IB) courses offered at NRHS. One of the final projects I did for IB was an analysis of French immersion in Nova Scotian schools. Below, you will find both research from that project and my own personal views about the program. The entire letter can be found at:  goo.gl/fwc7Bw

Cutting the program even for a year would create a domino effect throughout the entire program. Instead, CCRSB needs to promote the program more. Holding parent and student meetings in January is not enough. They need to start in September, and continue monthly. Additionally, CCRSB’s website has nothing clearly marked as French immersion information. It is not just the parents who need to know, but the students as well. Promotion is the key, and the lack of useful information is pitiful.

French immersion is a program that should always be an option for students. Being bilingual in French is beneficial for students. It exposes students to new cultures and engages their minds. Being bilingual also gives students an advantage over others for jobs. Canada is a bilingual country, and you will encounter people who speak both languages in the majority of workplaces. It also allows them to work in French speaking areas. During my summer job, I spoke with Quebec visitors daily, and even some from France and Switzerland. By refusing to give students a chance to learn French, CCRSB is limiting their ability to interact with a more bilingual Canada and a globalized world.

In a report commissioned by CCRSB, it recommended having French immersion at NNEC and IB at NRHS. I highly discourage this, seeing that IB has helped my French and my academic career. I felt well prepared for university and received six credits towards my degree because I took IB French.

Changing one aspect of the program can ruin it. Cutting even two years out of the program will not only make it harder, but also weed out more people who find it too difficult. Those two years in fourth and fifth grade are two are the most important years in the entire program. 

It’s shameful to purposely deny children education that will help them in their future. By changing the French immersion program, CCRSB will be inhibiting them from engaging in a bilingual country. French Immersion is no longer an optional course, but a necessity.

Susan Parker

West River

Geographic location: Nova Scotian, Canada, Quebec France Switzerland West River

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