WHITEHORSE—The Government of Yukon will invest $2.7 million over the next five years to support English language learners in Yukon public schools, subject to legislative approval.
“Yukon has a significant and growing number of students whose first language is not English,” Minister of Education Doug Graham said. “Over the past several years we’ve welcomed students into our schools from countries around the world. Students with improved English skills have a much higher likelihood of graduating, pursuing post-secondary education, finding gainful employment and contributing to our economy and cultural tapestry.”
The proposed funding will provide $403,000 in 2015/16, followed by $575,000 annually for the next four years. The Department of Education will hire seven full-time teachers and paraprofessionals to help students improve their English language skills. This funding will complement the current support, which provides one half-time teaching position at the four Yukon schools with a significant number of students who need English-language support.
“The Chinese Canadian Association of Yukon is pleased to learn about this exciting news,” CCAY president Richard Li said. “We believe this support will help English language learners increase their chances of academic success, enable new immigrant families to better integrate into the community, and promote multiculturalism and diversity in the Yukon.”
In addition to funding the new teaching positions, the Department of Education will continue to work with schools to develop programs for English language learners, support the established network of teachers engaged in English language learner instruction, and facilitate professional development opportunities for those teachers.