On December 10, the Faculty of Education held an event to highlight the publication of Système scolaire franco-ontarien: d’hier à aujourd’hui pour le plein potentiel des élèves, which describes the history of Ontario’s Francophone school system. This book, written under the direction of Claire IsaBelle, who is both a professor and a member of Quebec’s National Assembly, was a collaborative effort. The 32 researchers and teachers who co-authored the book provided an overview of the progress made in Ontario’s Francophone school system over the past 20 years. Some 40 professors, staff members, co-authors and partners attended the launch.
Dean Richard Barwell delivered inspiring opening remarks that stressed the importance of being sensitive to the issues faced by minority language communities and the Faculty’s role in filling the shortage of French-language teachers in Ontario. He was followed by Professor Claire IsaBelle, who discussed the book’s creation and its relevance in the wake of the current political issues facing Ontario’s Francophones.
Edith Dumont, educational director for the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’est de l’Ontario (CEPEO), the Francophone public school board of Eastern Ontario, concluded the launch by comparing the issues faced by today's Franco-Ontarians with those faced by their forbearers. She described how schools act to safeguard the French-language, especially for children from families in which only one parent speaks French. These children are often the first generation to no longer speak French fluently, and thus Francophone schools become the place where they can learn to speak French.
Congratulations to Claire IsaBelle for bringing this project to life!