Yukon’s Department of Education says it will continue to offer an internationally recognized French fluency test for Grade 11 and 12 students.
The diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) exam is offered by France’s Ministry of National Education. About 165 countries recognize the diploma as a sign of someone’s proficiency in French.
Until last year, Yukon students wanting to take the oral and written exams had to go outside the territory. Last year the department of education ran a pilot project offering the test locally.
Assistant deputy minister Nicole Morgan said the decision was made after a review of the territory’s French as a second language programs.
“We know from our parents survey now that the number one reason that parents and students continue in French second language programming is the value of being bilingual in Canada in terms of career and travel.”
Students also were looking for more incentives to stay in French education, she said.
When taking the exam, students can choose one of three different tests ranging in difficulty from conversational French to being functionally bilingual.
The top certification is what many employers look for when searching for a bilingual employee, Morgan said.
“It’s definitely helping them with career opportunities (or) applications to post-secondary studies if they’d like to do that in French,” Morgan said.
All 20 students who took part in last year’s pilot passed the exam that they chose to take.
It was enough that the department has agreed to continue to pay for Yukon students to take the test and bring someone up each year to administer it.
This year’s program cost $17,000.
For now the exam is only being offered to Grade 11 and 12 students taking French as a second language programs like French immersion, core French and intensive French.
“They’re now done their French studies and they want to have that language proficiency to see where they’re at as they transition out of high school,” Morgan said.
For now the local test is only being offered to current students.
The exam will be offered this year from April 24 to 26. A public information night is scheduled for March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
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