The French government would like to open a private school in the Maritimes

Some have reservations about the relevance of such an establishment, which France would consider establishing in Moncton or Fredericton in New Brunswick, or even in Halifax in Nova Scotia.

What is a French high school?

It would be a high school, the equivalent of a high school in the Canadian education system, where young people would be taught the school curriculum of France.

Through the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), France has established 552 of its own schools in 138 countries.

According to Fanny Ratisseau, an elected councilor at the Assembly of French Nationals Abroad, 60% of the approximately 380,000 students enrolled there are not of French nationality.

A student wearing a medical mask arrives at the College in winter.Enlarge image (New window)

Collège Stanislas, in Montreal, is part of the network of French high schools.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

In Canada, there are already nine of these French schools, but none are east of Quebec. The others are in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Typically, for high school equivalent students, tuition fees range from $5,000 to $34,000 per year.

A French delegation from the Agency for French Teaching Abroad is to travel to Atlantic Canada from May 8 to 12 to promote this project.

In preparation for this visit, the Alliance française d’Halifax, a French cultural center in the capital of Nova Scotia, is inviting people to discuss the idea at its premises on Saturday afternoon.

Emmanuel Macron takes a walkabout in Nigeria.  A little girl takes his hands and looks up at him in admiration.Enlarge image (New window)

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the French Lycée Louis-Pasteur, in Lagos, Nigeria, on July 4, 2018. It is one of 552 schools in the network of French high schools outside France.

Photo: Reuters/Ludovic Marin

A few hours before this meeting, parents are far from convinced of the relevance of this French school.

This is the case of Morgane Sicre, a resident of the Halifax region. I strongly believe in equality and fairness of opportunity for children, so I don’t see the pointshe says.

We are not going to reinvent hot water. There is already a public service that is offered. »

A quote from Morgane Sicre, resident of Nova Scotia

A threat to the Francophone community?

Some parents worry that the opening of such a school by a foreign government will harm an already well-established French-language school system in Nova Scotia, where the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) operates 22 schools that serve more than 6,000 K-12 students.

Sophie Hubert believes that schools in CSAP will lose students. We cannot afford, in the Maritimes, to remove some of these studentsshe says.

If you offer a French high school, children who attend the CSAP will leave. »

A quote from Sophie Hubert

Estèle Jehan Boulon does not share this concern. I don’t think it’s competition she says. It’s just one more option, like for people here who are anglophones and who either put their child in a public school or their child in a private school.

A school bus with a school on the back.

The Conseil scolaire acadien provincial manages 22 French-language schools in Nova Scotia.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jonathan Villeneuve

In New Brunswick, the project immediately raises questions.

Is it really an addition to what we already have?wonders Michel Côté, director general of the Regional Association of the Francophone Community of Saint-Jean.

Will they be certified by the Province of New Brunswick when they finish?he asks, speaking of the possible graduates of this type of school.

Fanny Ratisseau, of the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad, says that a high school following the French curriculum in the Maritimes would serve to increase and diversify the educational offer in French in a minority setting.

Michel Côté observes that the idea can be attractive for French immigrants, but believes that the need of this high school for the French-speaking community in general is a big question mark.

We already have several French-language schools in those regions that are doing excellent workhe mentions.

According to the report by Adrien Blanc

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