Despite the fact that there are more than 425 elementary and secondary French-language Catholic and public schools in Ontario, many people ignore their existence. Also, many confuse French-language schools managed by a French-language school board with immersion programs offered in English-language schools to students who wish to learn French as a second language.
To help you make the best decision possible, I will explain how these two concepts differ.
French-language schools are schools where everything is in French.
- Students are taught all subjects in French, except for English, which is taught following the same standards and curriculum as in English-language schools.
- The environment in which the student evolves is entirely Francophone: ads, posters, etc.
- The student learns and LIVES in French.
- The entire staff speaks French.
- Learning and school life are enriched with activities that highlight the Francophone culture in all its diversity.
French immersion programs are offered in English-language schools to English-speaking students who want to learn French as a second language.
- Students in French immersion programs are taught in English (with the exception of French courses and two other courses in French).
- The school in which the immersion program is offered is an English-language school.
- The environment in which students evolve is more Anglophone: ads, posters, etc.
- Students learn and live mainly in English.
- Students master English as a first language and French as a second language.
In Ontario, there are no IMMERSION SCHOOLS or BILINGUAL SCHOOLS funded by taxpayers.
In Ontario, there are four types of schools, each one belonging to one of the four types of publicly-funded school boards: French-language Catholic and public schools and English-language Catholic and public schools. “Immersion schools” do not exist. This is why the terms used should be IMMERSION PROGRAMS and FRENCH-LANGUAGE SCHOOLS.
Immersion programs allow many English-speaking individuals to develop language skills in French, which is very good and beneficial. This increases the Francophone milieu in which our students evolve by strengthening a fundamental component of the Canadian identity. However, these programs hold little weight in the effort to fight the assimilation of Francophones and cannot reverse the linguistic and cultural erosion of the Franco-Ontarian community. Indeed, it is the responsibility of French-language schools to ensure the survival and the evolution of the Francophone culture, and to encourage the development of the identity and cultural vitality of one of the two founding peoples of our country.