Ontario Working to Increase the Supply of French-Language Teachers in the Province
The Ontario government is taking action to recruit and retain more French teachers to ensure that all students receive a high-quality French-language or French as a Second Language (FSL) education. To assist in this effort the province is supporting various initiatives such as career fairs, as well as partnering with two working groups in order to focus on professional development for French teachers and raise awareness of employment opportunities. "Our government is committed to protecting and promoting French-language and bilingual education in Ontario now and into the future," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "The rising enrollment and increased popularity of our French-language and French as a Second Language programs, coupled with a long standing national shortage of educators, underscores the need for action which is why we are ensuring schools have access to more qualified French language educators." To attract more French-Language teachers the government is taking several actions including:
A partnership with Laurentian University to create a new hybrid initial teacher education program (with a first cohort in 2020-21);
The development of projects with sector partners, such as career fairs, and a recruitment portal for the French-language school boards which includes a link to supporting resources and an online help desk for educators; and
Possible changes to regulations that would help hire more qualified French-language teachers.
To attract more French as a Second Language teachers the province is taking several actions including:
A new guide for English-language school boards and a French proficiency assessment tool that will help public schools hire and train more French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers;
An online portal, to be created by Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) aimed at students to promote postsecondary studies and experiences that can lead to a career as an FSL teacher in Ontario; and a promotional campaign about the FSL career path;
Outreach activities, to be developed by York University and aimed at Grade 11 students that will promote careers as an FSL teacher in Ontario; transition courses for internationally-trained Francophone teachers; and an online platform for French as a Second Language teachers that will support them in their professional learning.
"We are very proud of our thriving French-language education systems and FSL programs in Ontario," said Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education. "The French language is one of our country's official languages and an essential part of our country's identity. We look forward to continued work with our valued stakeholders to make sure that all students in Ontario have access to quality education in French." Ontario continues to partner with various education stakeholders, including its provincial French Language Working Group, to address the recruitment and retention of teachers in the French-language school system. In addition, it is relaunching the FSL Provincial Working Group, whose membership will represent a variety of perspectives, including those of senior school board administrators, teachers, parents, FSL associations and researchers. "By supporting the recruitment of more qualified French-language teachers, the government is ensuring that Ontario students and their parents have greater access to learning opportunities in French, as a first language or as a second language," said Francophone Affairs Minister Caroline Mulroney. "Today's announcement supports Ontario's commitment to provide our young Francophone and Francophile students with more options for their education and their future." "By working to train and retain more French-language teachers, our government is taking a decisive step towards the development of stronger, more empowered French-speaking communities in Ontario," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "The French language and our Francophone community are vital elements of our province's identity and help contribute to the cultural richness of our society." "Education is an essential pillar of the vitality of official languages and communities," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Official Languages. "Through the national recruitment and retention strategy for Francophone teachers, the Government of Canada is helping to address the labour shortage in French immersion and French first-language programs in Ontario. French-language learning contributes to our cultural and economic wealth, which is why we have invested in a $62 million Francophone teacher recruitment and retention strategy as part of our Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023. Bilingualism is at the heart of Canadian identity and culture, and a major asset in the labour market. This type of investment supports Francophone minority communities in addition to supporting the learning of French in immersion programs."
The French-language education network is comprised of 12 school boards across the province – eight Catholic and four public, including 471 elementary and secondary schools.
There are more than 111,000 students enrolled in French-language schools this year.
More than one million students are currently enrolled in FSL programs in the English-language school system, including 250,000 students enrolled in the French Immersion program.
In some parts of Ontario, growth in student enrolment combined with attrition has resulted in a shortage of teachers for both the French and English-language education systems.
The study of French in Ontario’s English language education system is mandatory from Grades 4 to 8, and secondary students must earn one FSL credit to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Partners in Ontario’s French Language Working Group include the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, the Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l'Ontario, the Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques and the Ministry of Education.
Ontario officially recognizes September 25th of each year as Franco-Ontarian Day, celebrating the contribution of the Francophone community to the social, economic and political life of the Province and the community’s importance in Ontario’s society.
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