New Brunswick

Early French immersion change coming, Serge Rousselle says

The New Brunswick government is moving forward with a campaign promise to move the early entry point for French immersion back to Grade 1, Education Minister Serge Rousselle said on Friday.

Education minister says the early French immersion entry point will be reverted to Grade 1

The New Brunswick government is moving forward with a campaign promise to move the early entry point for French immersion back to Grade 1, Education Minister Serge Rousselle said on Friday.

Rousselle said on Information Morning Fredericton that his staff is currently looking at how the campaign promise will be carried out.

“We are, all the team, is working already to see how it can be implemented and when is the best time,” Rousselle said.

“There [are] programs to be built up for this new entry level and so as soon as we get this information, you can be sure we will be able to tell you.”

Premier Brian Gallant promised to restore the Grade 1 entry point to the French immersion program in this year’s election.

The decision will reverse a contentious policy that was implemented by the former Shawn Graham government. The entry point is now in Grade 3.

We clearly stated that we believe in first year entry and from our perspective it is clearly the way to go.- Education Minister Serge Rousselle

The former Alward government appointed two previous education ministers, James Lockyer and Elvy Robichaud, to study the French immersion program. Their report called for a return to the Grade 1 entry point, but in 2012 then education minister Jody Carr said the entry point would remain in Grade 3.

A CBC-Radio Canada poll released in September showed 58 per cent of New Brunswickers would like to see the entry point for French immersion in Grade 1 compared to 34 per cent who would like to see it in Grade 3.

In September, Joseph Dicks, an education professor at the University of New Brunswick and the director of the Second Language Research Institute of Canada, said the policy to move the entry point to Grade 3 is not working. Dicks said the program does not need any more studies.

Rousselle said on Friday that he is still waiting for feedback from the department on how the policy change should be implemented.

But the education minister said the entry point will be moving.

“We clearly stated that we believe in first year entry and from our perspective it is clearly the way to go. So basically we believe that is what has to be done,” he said.

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