French teachers are in demand now more than ever in Saskatchewan, and all of Canada, as the number of students enrolling in francophone and immersion schools continues to grow.
Since 2007, the Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises (CEF) enrolments have increased from 1,209 to 1,915 students, and French immersion enrolments in public school divisions in Saskatchewan have increased from 9,174 to 15,313 students.
Born in Lebowa in South Africa and having familial roots from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and while being raised in Regina, learning in French has been a way for Christian Mbanza to “learn more about and to conserve his culture.”
From early on, it was quite clear to Mbanza the path he would take for his career.
“It was the teachers that I had during my schooling who influenced me [to become a teacher]. In high school, the students in immersion often followed the same courses and they were often together. There was a small francophone community and our teachers were role models for us. They were more than teachers for me. So, I knew the impact a teacher can have on the life of a young child, particularly in a small environment.”
For Serena Laposta, who was born in Regina and who studied in immersion until the eighth grade, what she wanted to pursue as a career was not always apparent. It was not until she explored other options and later decided to try education that she knew that 'le Bac' was the right program for her.
The Baccalauréat en éducation (le Bac) is a four-year program to train students who wish to teach in French as a first or second language.
During the second year of the program, students study at Laval University in Québec City to develop their French skills. For Laposta, this year out of province was "really a year to develop not only linguistically, but also personally."
“Immersion truly is the best way to learn a second language. And what’s more, culture is something that the textbooks simply cannot teach us!”
The Bac students benefit from a bursary from the Government of Saskatchewan to study out of province. This bursary enabled Mbanza to concentrate more on his studies and on experiencing the francophone culture, and it allowed Laposta the extra financial aid to be able to find a balance between spending money on the necessities and on cultural experiences.
In both cases, studying at the University of Regina through the Bac program provided them many opportunities. From intimate learning environments in small classes, to accessible teachers and free tutoring, the University of Regina’s La Cité Universitaire Francophone offers a welcoming and multicultural place to learn.
To learn more about the program and bursaries for out of town learning, contact the University of Regina at 306-585-4507, visit Baccalauréat en éducation (le Bac), or contact them.