Yukon College students can expect access to more services in French in the coming years after officials with the college and Association franco-yukonnaise (AFY) signed off on a renewed memorandum of understanding.
The original MOU was signed in 2010 and formalized the relationship between the two organizations, resulting in a number of services being offered in French.
The new deal will result in additional services being rolled out over the next two years, officials for both told media and others gathered for the signing of the new agreement at the college’s Ayamdigut campus in Whitehorse.
Among the new offerings will be French translation services for exams, tests and final assignments for students in certificate programs, evening English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, development of a new workplace language training program, and a pilot offering of one or two university courses in French.
The college’s website will also be available in French.
Improved French language support for math and science courses at all levels began this term as well.
Under the previous agreement, program advice services, one-on-one and group ESL and a Customer Service Bilingual skills training program have been delivered and will continue.
The first agreement was more experimental and formalized the relationship between AFY and Yukon College, said Jeanne Beaudoin, president of Association franco-yukonnaise.
The new deal is “one with a plan,” she said.
A formal work plan will be released in the near future detailing more precise details on each initiative, said Erica Bourdon, the college’s chair of academic and skill development.
Both Bourdon and Stéphanie Bourret, AFY’s education manager, said they hope the efforts will attract more students to the school, knowing that services are available in French.
Work will be done to promote the services.
While officials did not have figures on the number of Francophone Yukon College students, they did note that more than 14 per cent of the territory’s population speaks French and it is one of the two official languages in Canada.
Many of the staff at Yukon College are bilingual (in some cases multi-lingual).
“We are very pleased about the renewal of this agreement with Yukon College,” Boudoin said in a statement. “Many initiatives have been jointly coordinated in the past few years, and our sincerest wish is that the continuation of our collaboration will allow Francophones access to more post-secondary learning opportunities in the Yukon.”
Similarly, Janet Welch, Yukon College’s vice-president of academic and student services, said the new MOU comes after much input from the Francophone community.
“Based upon feedback from the Yukon Francophone community we have collaborated with AFY to develop language skills and training programs and put appropriate supports in place to ensure Francophone student success.”
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