P.E.I. struggling to keep up with French immersion demand

Almost one in four students on P.E.I. is in French immersion, and that has led to some trouble finding teachers and classrooms.

Canadian Parents for French doing study of P.E.I.'s French immersion program

In many parts of P.E.I. there is no opportunity for students to join French immersion after kindergarten. (Stephanie Kelly/CBC)

Almost one in four students on P.E.I. is in French immersion and that has led to some trouble finding teachers and classrooms.

Close to 20,000 students started the fall term in the Island's primary and secondary schools this week and about 4,700 of them are in French immersion.

Canadian Parents for French is in the middle of a study about the state of French as a second language education on the Island.

"The perennial teacher shortage is always an issue in French second language education," said Gail Lecky, the group's executive director on P.E.I.

"We're trying to find out exactly where that is now on P.E.I."

Access a problem in rural areas

Gail Lecky, the executive director of Canadian Parents for French on P.E.I., said a new French teacher program at UPEI may be helping with the teacher shortage. (CBC)
Lecky said it has been about five years since the last CPF study.

She said she believes there may be an improvement in the teacher situation with the addition of a new French-focused teaching program at UPEI.

Lecky said the shortage of teachers and classrooms creates access problems.

Many rural areas, in particular, do not have late immersion programs.

On the positive side, Lecky said recent international assessments written by Grade 12 students show P.E.I. is still offering good French language training.

With files from Island Morning