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The ongoing teacher shortage in BC is hitting schools in the province's francophone district especially hard, said Linda Thériault, president of the Syndicat des enseignantes et enseignants du programme francophone de la C-B (SEPF). The SEPF is the BCTF's francophone local.

“We are already two full months into the school year and classes across the Conseil Scolaire Francophone (CSF) school district are still being reorganized,” said Thériault. “The ongoing organizational problems in CSF schools are a result of insufficient action by the district to recruit and retain francophone teachers. Other school districts, during the spring and summer, got out early and recruited French-speaking teachers into immersion programs. As a result of the inaction, our francophone schools are short about 50 teachers. This is causing ongoing disruptions for teachers and students.

“We need the Conseil Scolaire Francophone to take immediate steps to solve the francophone teacher shortage so we can have certainty for our students.”

BCTF President Glen Hansman, who has been warning the government about the teacher shortage becoming a crisis for months, said more needs to be done to develop a robust recruitment and retention strategy.

“The Ministry of Education recently announced a task force on the teacher shortage, but we can't wait for that group to finish its work before concrete actions are taken,” said Hansman. “The fact that schools are still being reorganized this late in the year is unacceptable. School districts should have done more sooner to ensure they had the appropriate number of staff to meet the requirements of the BCTF's restored contract language on class size and composition.”

Hansman explained that possible solutions include incentives like student loan forgiveness, professional supports, meaningful assistance with housing and moving expenses, and adjustments to teachers' starting salaries that are the lowest in Canada, except for Quebec.

For more information contact SEPF President Linda Thériault at 604-871-1865 or at lindatheriault.sepf@gmail.com.

To speak with Glen Hansman please contact Rich Overgaard at 604-871-1881 or rovergaard@bctf.ca

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