News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 24, 2005

ESL CURRICULUM AND NEW GUIDELINES PART OF MULTI-YEAR EDUCATION PLAN

ESL Curriculum And New Guidelines Part Of Multi-Year Education Plan


A provincial curriculum for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and new guidelines for working with students in Kindergarten through Senior 4 are part of a multi-year action plan announced today by Education, Citizenship and Youth Minister Peter Bjornson.

"In 2002, our government initiated the first review of ESL programming undertaken since 1986," Bjornson said. "The main goal of the review was to better meet the needs of new Canadians and Canadian-born children who speak a range of diverse languages andlive in Manitoba's multicultural communities by strengthening ESL programming in schools and developing a curriculum that is relevant and effective."

Manitoba's K to S4 English as a Second Language Action Plan 2005 – 2008 responds to 11 recommendations made following the completion of the ESL review in December 2003. Additional stakeholder consultations with schools, community groups and partner organizations took place in late 2004 to confirm implementation plans proposed by the ESL program review team.

"The provincial government has increased funding and access to ESL programs and services throughout the province to support existing students and a growing immigrant population," Bjornson said. "We will implement the action plan over the next three years with input from service agencies, multicultural organizations and other education partners."

The minister noted a $500,000 funding increase for ESL programs was announced in January 2005 as part of the province's public schools budget. The ESL student support grant will be restructured and enhanced in 2006. The grant was increased to $750 per student from $660 in 2001 for the next school year.

"Manitoba's immigration programs are setting the standard for attracting newcomers with the skills, education and experience we need to take our province through the 21st century," said Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan. "The increase in funding to Manitoba's language-training programs helps keep the momentum going in what has become one of Canada's most successful immigration strategies."

Other highlights in the action plan include an invitation to schools across the province to pilot a newly-developed senior years ESL course this fall and specialized programs to be put in place for adolescent refugees who have had their education interrupted by war.

"I would like to commend the numerous teachers and administrators who have worked tirelessly with ESL learners and other diverse student groups as they not only learn a new language but adapt to a new country and a new culture," Bjornson said. "They have a significant, lasting impact on people's lives and are an excellent example of how Manitobans work together to make the province a special place to live."

For more information on the ESL Action Plan, visit the website at http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/ks4/cur/diversity/esl/index.html.

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