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Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. Image: Submitted/Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick

Students Enrolled In French Immersion Will Continue: Minister

By Brad Perry Oct 18, 2022 | 3:00 PM

New Brunswick’s new education minister is trying to allay the fears of parents who have children in French immersion.

This comes as the province prepares to have a new French program for all anglophone students as early as next September.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight last week following a scathing resignation letter from former minister Dominic Cardy.

Cardy — who was later removed from the Progressive Conservative caucus — wrote that the premier had pressured the department to “abolish French immersion by September 2023.”

Bill Hogan, who was named the new education minister later the same day, said that information is incorrect.

“There’s no plans to scrap everything and move on to something new,” Hogan told reporters Tuesday following an event in Saint John.

“Any children currently enrolled in immersion will continue through that program through Grade 12 if they choose to stay with it.”

Hogan said the department is developing a new French program that is “more comprehensive and will meet the needs that we have.”

According to the minister, a couple of pilot projects are currently underway. The department expects to choose one in the next three months or so.

“We want to ensure all students are functionally bilingual and can carry on a conversation in French,” said Hogan.

A February report from provincial court Judge Yvette Finn and former deputy education minister John McLaughlin called on the province to make changes to French-language education.

The report noted that while almost all students who complete French immersion have a conversational level of French, more than 60 per cent of anglophone students do not enroll in the program or do not have the ability to.

But the report cautioned that any reforms should not be rushed and must be done in a “strategic manner that is supportive rather than disruptive.”


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