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New Brunswick scraps early French immersion

Province will bring in late intensive program starting in Grade Five

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 1,500 New Brunswick kids who started early immersion in 1995 dropped out of the program by the time they reached high school.

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock says it’s been shown that students who begin second-language training later achieve better results.

The Liberal government wants 70 per cent of students to be bilingual by 2012, but at the moment, only a fraction of graduating students are proficient in French.

Under the changes, which take effect this fall, all Grade 5 students will receive intensive French education, and then have the choice to enter French immersion in Grade 6.

Lamrock says the change will give all students equal access to seven years of second-language training.

Any students currently enrolled in early immersion will be allowed to continue.

-with a report from CP 

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