Re: “French Immersion a drain on system,” H.W. Druskee (March 2, 2012).
The choice to enroll a child in French Immersion is not a selfish want rooted in the parent’s past; on the contrary, it is a wise investment in the child’s future.
In terms of cost, the federal government allocates funding to support all French second language programs. For Kamloops-Thompson (SD73) specifically, $197,555 was allocated for the 2011-2012 school year. With 6,585 students accessing those funds, this equates to a $30 allotment per student per year. This is a remarkably small financial investment for such an important future return.
Learning a second language is an intellectual exercise and a challenge which further develops a child’s cognitive abilities. Learning French is a discipline, requiring a comprehension of culture and expression as well as the many intricacies of a language.
Studies have shown that it is easier and more natural for a child to learn a second language at a very early age. This is only logical, given that this is also when they absorb and learn their first language.
In learning French, students develop a lifelong ability to communicate with a broader scope of people as well as a more global view of Canada and the world.
Learning both official languages allows for not only communication, but understanding in an ever-shrinking world community. Knowledge of a second language also provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up a larger pool of information, additional job opportunities and a wider networking potential.
French Immersion is a highly successful made-in-Canada educational program that allows non-Francophones the opportunity to learn and study in French. The program began over 30 years ago at the demand of parents, and has continued to garner support since: the 2011-2012 school year marked French Immersion’s 13th consecutive year of enrollment growth in B.C. Currently, over 275,000 students are enrolled in French second language programs in BC and Yukon, and French Immersion accounts for 7.7 percent of the total student population in B.C.
By enrolling a French Immersion program, children have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
President, Canadian Parents for French – B.C. & Yukon Branch