June 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government has initiated a process to followup on the report of the Commission on Francophone Schools. Premier Shawn Graham and Education Minister Kelly Lamrock made the announcement today as the report was released by commissioner Gino LeBlanc.
"The process of discussion and collaboration with the community, begun during the Commission on Francophone Schools, must continue so that together we can build the best francophone schools in the country, and stay the course toward self-sufficiency," said Graham. "By ensuring followup to commissioner LeBlanc's report, our government continues to show its commitment to the growth and development of the Acadian and francophone communities of New Brunswick."
LeBlanc believes that his report offers potential solutions that merit the attention of decision-makers.
"After hearing more than 1,200 people during the 11 public consultations, and holding about 100 targeted meetings, as well as the Summit on Francophone Schools, I think this report will serve as a springboard for building the best Acadian and francophone schools possible, reinforcing francophone identity and the schools' teaching mandate," said LeBlanc.
A followup on the report will be carried out through the formation of a community/government focus group.
"I am proud to announce that we have set aside an initial amount of $200,000, which will enable the committee to begin developing and implementing a linguistic and cultural policy," said Lamrock. "This is in response to one of the recommendations of the report, which is to provide a policy that will determine how Acadian and francophone schools will carry out their twofold educational mission of promoting academic success and identity building."
The committee will bring together the main stakeholders from schools, communities, and key departments, and will serve as a mechanism for dialogue and co-operation between them, with a mandate to develop an implementation plan incorporating the participation of each partner, as directed by the report's recommendations.
"The increased investment in education in the francophone sector has contributed to improved literacy outcomes among francophone students, and has led to the current success of community schools," said Lamrock. "I am pleased that the commissioner has recognized the success of initiatives such as community schools, provincial evaluations, and early childhood programs, and recommends having more initiatives of this kind. Followup on this report will make it possible to continue this progress by fostering closer co-operation with the community."
The Commission on Francophone Schools is part of the seventh commitment of the education plan, When Kids Come First, which is to promote cultural identity and linguistic growth. The report may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4714.