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Canada Cardy denies report suggesting New Brunswick is scrapping French immersion program

09:27  08 january  2020
09:27  08 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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New Brunswick — Canada’s only officially bilingual province — is scrapping early French immersion in its anglophone school system in favour of an intensive French program for all students as of Grade 5.The move follows a controversial report that concluded 91 per cent of the roughly 1

WATCH: New Brunswick 's education minister says there are serious concerns with the province's French immersion program , and he's asking for She found that of the 1,624 students who entered into the program in 2005, 75 per cent dropped out of the program by the end of Grade 12 and only

Dominic Cardy wearing a suit and tie: Education Minister Dominic Cardy denied a report Tuesday night the province was considering scrapping the French immersion program.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Education Minister Dominic Cardy denied a report Tuesday night the province was considering scrapping the French immersion program.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy has denied a report the New Brunswick government is considering abandoning the provincial French immersion program.

A headline published Tuesday evening on the website of the Telegraph-Journal, the provincial newspaper, stated, "Province plans to scrap French immersion program." When asked to clarify, Cardy repudiated the report.

"The headline saying we're scrapping French immersion is simply, straight up inaccurate," Cardy told CBC News.

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New Brunswick ’s Tory government says it will conduct a broad review of the province’s education system that will include a plan to deliver French second-language programming . Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced the review today and also confirmed that Grade 1 will remain the entry

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The minister said, however, the government is developing a pilot project to test alternative approaches to French second language training in the province. The project will be rolled out in a dozen anglophone schools in September 2020.

Cardy said the pilot is in the early design stages but didn't offer further information, saying he would share those details when ready.

Cardy said his government has publicly discussed changes to the French immersion program, among many other reforms, in the green paper on education that was published last fall.

"Nothing beyond that is in the works right now," he said.

Denies secret talks with People's Alliance

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin was quoted in the Telegraph-Journal article as saying he had been speaking with Cardy and Premier Blaine Higgs "for the past year" about a plan to do away with the program, adding he was "thrilled" at the prospect.

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Brunswick ’s desire is for our students to become global citizens and to develop an awareness of the economic, social, and environmental concerns of our time. Our children’s world demands that they understand not only their own country, but other nations, cultures, languages, and religions around the

Cardy said Austin's comments were "inaccurate" and "irresponsible."

"To say there's some plan which hasn't been shared with the public to get rid of French immersion is simply untrue," Cardy said.

"There are certainly going to be absolutely no secret closed-door decisions or discussions with people in other parties on issues as important as this."

Neither Austin nor an Alliance spokesperson responded to a request for comment Tuesday night.

The Progressive Conservative government has been critical of the existing program and its poor performance levels.

Figures in a January 2019 auditor general's report show that of 1,624 students who began French immersion in 2004, only 10 per cent finished Grade 12 with an "advanced" or better level of French.

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