While enrolment in the Prince Rupert School District has been on a steady decline over the past decade, figures released by the Canadian Parents for French show interest in French immersion programming has grown.
Overall enrolment has dropped from 2,834 in the 2004/2005 school year to 2,103 in the 2013/2014 school year, while the French immersion enrolment rate has increased from 170 students 10 years ago to 176 last year. The result is a drop of 731 students compared to an increase of six French immersion students.
“We believe French programs are popular in Prince Rupert because they are widely recognized by parents as providing young students with the tools and experiences that will enrich their lives and help them prepare for the future,” said Patti Holm, Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon president.
“We urge parents, educators, and local decision makers to work together to plan for French immersion growth and to improve learning outcomes through standardized benchmarks and authentic learning experiences.”
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the French immersion program in Prince Rupert. Enrolment dropped from 170 students to just over 150 students between 2004/2005 and 2006/2007 and dropped again from 174 students in 2009/2010 to 162 in 2012/2013 before rebounding to the current levels.
Provincially, French immersion enrolment has steadily increased over the past decade, from 35,636 students to 49,450 students, while overall enrolment has fallen from 606,383 in 2004 to 558,985.
School district enrolment for this year will not be known until mid-month due to the delayed startup of schools in B.C.