Posted on Apr 10, 2018
Question Period: French Language and Francophone Education
On April 10th, I appreciated having the opportunity to ask the education minister about our government's commitment to French Language and Francophone Education programs for Albertan students.
French Language and Francophone Education
Ms McKitrick: Merci, M. le Président. The federal government recently announced a new action plan on official languages. One of the key strategies is to support bilingualism through investing in second-language teacher recruitment strategies. I know from my discussion with Canadian Parents for French and many school trustees and administrators that there is a challenge in the ability to recruit French immersion and French as a second language teachers in Alberta, especially in rural areas. To the Minister of Education: how are you going to make sure that increased federal supports for French immersion and French as a second language teacher recruitment benefit all Albertans who want their children to access these learning opportunities regardless of . . .
The Speaker: Thank you.
The Minister of Education.
Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you very much for the question. Our government believes that every child in Alberta deserves a chance for success and a chance for francophone and French education regardless of where they live here in the province of Alberta, whether it's in a rural area or an urban area as well. We know as well that our francophone population here in the province has increased by more than 40 per cent in the last 20 years and that enrolment in francophone schools has gone up by more than 200 per cent during that same time. We're encouraged that the federal government is making an investment in francophone education across the country, and we just want to make sure that the federal government . . .
The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.
Ms McKitrick: Merci. The federal funding and action plan are helpful, but I was wondering: what action specifically is the Ministry of Education taking to support the desire of Albertan parents to have their children attend French immersion or FSL programs?
The Speaker: The hon. minister.
Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thanks for the question. We have more than 240,000 self-identified francophone people here in the province of Alberta. It's growing very quickly. We are building a new curriculum in all subject areas and in all grade levels, and we're doing that in both official languages simultaneously and working together very closely with the francophone community. Some of the curriculum in this province is more than 30 years old. It's way overdue for an update, and it's way overdue to do it in both of our official languages. We're working very hard together with francophones across the province to make this happen.
Ms McKitrick: Alberta's conseils francophones also benefit from federal action strategies. I know that the minister had some very tough decisions to make in the capital plan for new school projects, so the two new schools announced for the francophone school boards are an indication of the importance the minister places on them. Again to the Minister of Education: given your interests what are you doing to ensure that Alberta students can access francophone education?
The Speaker: The hon. minister.
Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, we have worked very hard to ensure that we build schools. We have more than 200 school projects on the go across the province at this time. We've put more than a billion dollars into the education system that wouldn't have otherwise happened from the previous government. With these schools we are making sure that we meet the needs of francophone education and French immersion education every step of the way. It's a rapidly, exponentially growing part of our education and school population, and we will make sure that we meet the needs of francophone education here in the province of Alberta.