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NBTA Opposes French Second Language Learning Acceleration

By Tim Herd Oct 24, 2022 | 6:30 AM

CDC / Unsplash

The New Brunswick Teachers’ Association (NBTA) says it opposes accelerating changes to French second language learning.

The opposition from the association’s board of directors comes as the Higgs government prepares a new French program for all anglophone students as early as September 2023.

“Such a decision is contrary to the advice cited in the Report on Second Language Learning,” reads a release from NBTA.

“It is imperative that decisions be made in the best interests of all students, address pre-existing classroom composition challenges, and acknowledge the strain that current teacher shortages are placing on the system.”

The association believes a 2023 implementation would further aggravate situations within the system.

The association also mentioned in its release that until now, it has participated in good faith in the formal French consultations currently being conducted.

However, NBTA said it has lost its trust in the process and mentioned that the process had been broken.

“The Association will no longer be engaging in the formal consultation process until such time a mutual collaborative consultation process is in place,” said the release.

The issue of French second language learning was thrust back into the spotlight following a scathing resignation letter from former education minister Dominic Cardy earlier this month.

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 last week 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.

With files from Brad Perry


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