2015 February, International Languages Programs in Ottawa, Dr. Emdad Khan, emdadkhan@sympatico.ca


International Languages Programs in Ottawa,
Emdad Khan, emdadkhan@sympatico.ca

Canada is an accommodative multicultural society. Every year it embraces over 250,000 new immigrants from all over the world. It has a universal charter of rights and freedoms. It allows the new immigrants to get integrated with main stream society by keeping its own culture, language and religion.

One of the identity of immigrants or any human being is his/her linguistic identity. A human being likes to express himself/herself in his/her mother tongue.  Canada is bilingual with two official languages English and French. In Ottawa and other cities, Canada through various school boards or immigration services offer free courses to learn English or French, so that the immigrant community can integrate and also  easily enter into the job market.

It is interesting to note that in Ottawa, all the four school boards, OCDSB, English Public School Board, CEPEO, French Public Board, Catholic English Board, OCSB and French Catholic Board all offer on Saturdays or after school hours for the school going kids to learn an international language free, other than French or English.

Picture -1: International Languages Program in Summer School in Ottawa
source, https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSUp5–ih-EyFn-WTdOsJ1LyYoRl_LZzvxs56P0mCqBlRPPQFEJyw

All the four school boards offer Elementary (KG – Grade 8] and secondary [Grade 9 – Grade 12] International Languages programs through Continuing Education. The language Program is run under the guidance of Ontario ministry of education. Community Associations work in partnership with the school boards in order to provide quality instruction in non-official languages [1, 2, 3, 4 ].

The school boards offer international languages program on Saturdays at Ottawa public schools that allows students to maintain or learn a language not otherwise available during regular school. In partnership with community organizations, classes are offered in 43 different languages at the elementary level and 22 languages at the secondary level [1]. The languages could be European languages such as Finnish, , Serbian, Spanish, Tamazight (Berber), Portuguese and Swedish or South Asians or Meddle Eastern or African or Asian  languages such as Arabic, Bengali, Persian (Farsi), Dari, Somali, Japanese, Korean, and  Turkish.

International Languages Program offers children an opportunity to learn and/or maintain a language other than English or French and to develop an appreciation for diversity and multicultural understanding. The language programs are open to all children regardless of cultural or ethnic background.

International Languages (Elementary) classes are available to elementary school-age children (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8).
International Languages (Secondary) Program is offered for Ontario high school students and adults are eligible to take the course. The courses are offered on first come, first served, space is limited.
International Language courses (not English or French) are offered for academic credits towards a high school graduation certificate. These language courses may also be used for university prerequisites or for specific studies or career-related goals. The secondary language course is free for regular high school (Grade 9-Grad 12) students. These secondary language courses accepted as credits towards a high school diploma. Current graduation requirements recognize at least one credit in a third language.
Elementary languages program are available to any Ontario students (KG to Grade 8),   who may have a cultural or linguistic back ground or not
For Secondary International language program: The credit courses are for high school students ( Grade 9- Grade 12)  may be taken by students who graduated from Elementary languages program or  are native language speakers or in some cases have no prior background in the new language,
The elementary languages program classes are normally run for 2.5 hours on Saturday mornings for 33/34 weeks from September to June as per normal school academic year.
Secondary international languages courses is run for 3.5 hours on Saturday mornings for 33/34 weeks from September to June during normal school calendar.
Although the course is free, for Elementary International languages course a non-refundable materials and consumable fee of $10.00 is charged.
For Secondary languages program, again, although the course is free, a non-refundable materials and consumable fee of $25.00 is charged. However, a fee of $50 is required by adult students.
It is stated by educationists and researchers that learning a second or third language has a positive effect on all aspects of a child’s educational development [1]. All children from junior kindergarten to grade eight who are residents of Ontario are encouraged to attend free of charge. An activity fee is applicable to non-Ontario resident students.
The secondary International languages program prepares students for post-secondary studies and careers in business, trade and communications. It fosters global awareness and understanding; enables enriched International Student Exchanges and develops training skills for international/global employment opportunities.
Arabic Language:
Arabic language is popular with for Ottawa-area elementary school students on Saturdays. The OCDSB says about half of the 5,000 students enrolled in foreign language classes are taking Arabic [5]. Twelve schools across the city offer Saturday morning classes in Arabic and a growing number are offering after-school classes, with enrolment far outnumbering the next two most popular choices, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The students attending Arabic classes have cultural connection, either Muslims or Arabic ethnic background such as at SNMC Al-Huda School at Barrhaven.
Sandy Richardson, the principal of Barrhaven Public School, said the popularity of the course has spread to people who are neither Muslim nor of Arabic descent [4]. Arabic language classes are also offered for a credit at the high school level in both the Ottawa Public, Catholic school boards. Such as at SNMC Al-Huda Saturday School under French Public Board, CEPEO.
1. http://www.ocdsb.ca/programs/continuweb/ilp/Pages/default.aspx
2. http://continuingeducation.ottawacatholicschools.ca/content.php?doc=166
3. http://ocsb.ca/board/administration/departments/admissions/international-students
4. http://www.cepeo.on.ca/
5. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/arabic-classes-popular-at-ottawa-schools-1.1064018
Dr. Emdad Khan is the founder  president of SNMC since 1999 and foudner president of CBET since 2012. He was the System Engineer in Nortel-Ericsson from 1999 to 2011. He was a professor of Computer Science in Bahrain University from 1981 to 1996. He holds a Ph.D.   in  Microprocessor Systems, Networking and Control from  the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST).
He is the another of 2 books in Computer science and has 20 research papers in Information systems, Computer Science and Engineering. He has written over 30 artifices  in magazine and newspapers on contemporary social issues, immigrants integration and Islamic moral values.

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