Here’s a stat that might surprise you: 10% of students in BC are enrolled in French immersion programs and that number has been going up for the past 18 years.
“At this point, what’s happening is a bit of a snowball effect,” says Glyn Lewis, Executive Director for French. “There are a couple of generations of French immersion students who have participated in the program, been enriched by it and benefited from it and I think more and more families and parents are seeing that and they want those same opportunities for their kids.”
He says learning French can give Canadian students an edge in a the competitive world.
“Language is certainly one of those tools in the toolbox. Especially French within the Canadian context makes a lot of sense. If you want to live and work and travel within any region of this country it really makes a lot of sense to be able to speak both official languages.”
Plus, Lewis says, many of the country’s top jobs require proficiency in both English and French.
“In practice, you can’t be the Prime Minister of this country if you don’t speak both official languages. And then there’s a whole bunch of pan-Canadian organizations and pan-Canadian companies where it really helps to have someone within your organization who can speak both languages.”
In the Prince George School District 8% of students are enrolled in immersion programs.
According to Stats Canada, Canadians who speak both official languages have a lower unemployment rate and earn 10% more than Canadians who only speak one.