Public schools in B.C. recorded their highest ever proportion of French immersion student enrolment last year, according to the latest numbers compiled by Canadian Parents for French (CPF).
In B.C., 9.72 per cent of public school students (more than 53,000 students) participated in French immersion in the 2021-22 school year.
The Vancouver Island/Coast region is tops in B.C. with 15 per cent of its students in French immersion. The Northeast region is lowest in B.C. at 6.76 per cent of students.
The region saw a nearly 10 per cent increase in French immersion enrolment since the 2015-16 school year, according to the B.C. Ministry of Education.
“As we head into the new school year, we know demand for French Second Language programs remains high,” said CPF BC & Yukon President Nancy Taylor, in a news release. “Learning French and becoming bilingual can provide your child with lifelong educational, professional, cultural, and social opportunities.”
While the percentage of students in French immersion is at its highest level ever, actual enrolment numbers dropped slightly this past school year.
There were 189 fewer students in French immersion than the year before in the province, a decrease of 0.35 per cent.
That continues the trend seen during the 2020-21 school year, when the pandemic created accessibility and participation issues that contributed to the first decrease in French immersion enrolment numbers in 20 years.
Total student enrolment in B.C. public schools this past year dipped more substantially than French immersion enrolment, resulting in an increase in the percentage of French immersion students.