School boards in British Columbia, struggling with a shortage of French teachers, are turning to Quebec to recruit them despite the lack of personnel that also affects the Belle Province.
“This year, kindergarten students in the integration of French had to be chosen by lottery because we do not have enough teachers,” says Vancouver School Board (VSB) director of educational programs Adrian Keough.
A Supreme Court decision took BC school boards by surprise last year, forcing them to reduce the number of students per class.
This judgment has had the effect of increasing the number of classes and thus the number of teachers needed, says Keough. Hundreds of French teachers are missing across British Columbia and only a dozen in the VSB, which has already hired 600 for a year, he adds.
The lack is so great that the VSB plans to travel to dozens of Canadian cities this year to recruit, including at the McGill Teaching Job Fair Monday in Montreal.
This tour was once limited to two or three cities, according to Keough.
Not a problem for Quebec
Difficult job conditions for teachers in Quebec are forcing some students to study outside the province, but they remain a minority, says McGill University Dean of Education, Siona J. Benson.
“The vast majority of students who come here want to settle here […], but many are interested in upgrading their knowledge outside before coming back here,” she says.
In fact, British Columbia’s school boards are not the only ones trying to attract our graduates to teaching.
Institutions from as far afield as China and Australia will also attend the event at the McGill Teaching Job Fair to recruit Francophones, says Benson.