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CPF and VSB on Teacher shortage

Advocacy group wants school board action as Vancouver struggles to find French teachers.

by ELLEN COULTER

Posted Jan 8, 2018 7:55 pm PST

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A French language advocacy group says Vancouver School Board trustees are failing in their commitment to reverse recent cuts.

The French Immersion program in Vancouver was cut back last spring, but at the fall election, board trustees said they would reverse the cuts as soon as possible.

Glyn Lewis with Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon says that hasn’t happened, and the group has written an open letter to trustees.

“There have been no initiatives to reverse the cuts and so basically we’re back to where we started from, the parents are rightly upset and that’s why we sent the letter,” he says.

“We recognize that they are having a tough time recruiting and retaining French Immersion teachers but we think they could be doing more.”

The chair of the VSB, Janet Fraser, says staff are working towards re-instating the classes.

“It’s very challenging to recruit French Immersion across BC, and particularly in Vancouver because we have a high cost of living and because we’re seeing many teachers moving from Vancouver to their home district.”

“(Staff) are assessing the availability of teachers and they are assessing the availability of space in our French Immersion schools to see what classes can be offered next year.”

Lewis says he understands the difficulties with recruitment, but the board needs to do more. The letter to trustees recommends the VSB participate in a French teacher exchange program, offer subsidies to support teachers developing their French proficiency and enable hiring of French teachers on a letter of permission.

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