A chart shows French immersion enrollment trends in Chilliwack’s School District 33. (Submitted photo)

Are Chilliwack’s French immersion students being overlooked in online learning?

Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon suggests French immersion students have limited options

A Chilliwack parent says French immersion students are being overlooked in the COVID-19 response.

Leanne Peters has a daughter in Grade 7 and is concerned that there is no online option for her at Chilliwack middle school.

“I feel we should really have that as an option considering we are having a world-wide pandemic,” she said in a news release put out by Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon. “My three other school-aged children are in elementary school and they also do not have an online option.”

Peters said she has considered home schooling, but it’s not a viable alternative.

READ MORE: Pressure to recruit French immersion teachers with increasing enrolment in Chilliwack

READ MORE: Supreme Court orders new French-language school for Abbotsford, improved one for Chilliwack

“We would lose our spot completely in the district and would need to go to a different town for school if I chose to do home schooling,” she said. “I’m really struggling with what is offered.”

Included in the Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon news release is a report indicating that more students in British Columbia are participating in French immersion than ever before, with enrollment increasing the last 22 years.

Province-wide, 54,416 students were enrolled in 2019-20, accounting for 9.45 per cent of all grade school students.

In Chilliwack, enrollment in French immersion has been rising since 2014.

In 2019-20, 696 students were registered, accounting for 5.07 per cent of School District 33’s student body.

“We continue to hear from too many parents upset about the lack of remote learning options, in French, for their children,” said Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon Executive Director Glyn Lewis. “If school districts can offer remote education in English they should fulfill their obligation to support French immersion as well.”

“While our education system grapples with the challenges of COVID-19 we urge school districts to seek all possible ways to expand French immersion programming to meet the growing demand from families all around the province,” added Nancy Taylor, president of Canadian Parents for French BC & YK. “French immersion is a wonderful life-changing educational experience and no child should be turned away.”


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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