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Multilingual communities help Manitoba

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Speaking multiple languages is incredibly useful in life, but can also be a gift parents give to their children.  

Manitoba puts a lot of effort into preserving mother tongue languages and recognizing their importance. This school year, we’re doing that by introducing a new way to earn the Special Language Credit Option for high school students and with a guide for parents explaining the new provincial report card that comes in over 15 languages.

The language credit and the report card guide are especially important for families who speak English (or our other official language, French) as an additional language.  We know that Manitoba’s student population continues to grow in language diversity beyond French and English, especially here in The Maples.

For decades, the Manitoba government has provided high school students with the chance to earn credits for being fluent in languages other than English or French. This is called the Special Language Credit Option. Students are able to earn credits by successfully completing language examinations.

Manitoba has now expanded the special language credit policy, beginning in September 2014. Through this new system, schools may recognize student’s prior language abilities by awarding high school credits. Starting next September, students can earn language credits by providing documentation (for example, former school report cards, or certificates of completion from language courses) from recognized local or international schools in languages other than English or French.  

Before this, students who wanted to earn special language credits had to write challenge exams. As of this school year, students with appropriate credentials may earn credits without this step. The revised system will benefit many newcomer immigrant and international students who studied in other languages before coming to Manitoba, such as students from the Filipino and Punjabi communities, while still keeping the standards required for high school credits.
Manitoba has also introduced a new, plain-language report card in public schools that was put in place at the beginning of 2013/14 school year. Schools can now provide the report cards with a guiding brochure that comes in several languages including Punjabi, Tagalog, Chinese, Spanish, German and many more. This will help new Manitoba parents understand their children’s report card and support our bilingual communities.

Here in Manitoba and The Maples, we are working to meet the needs of our bilingual and immigrant populations, which will only add to our Manitoban advantage. If you have any questions or concerns about the content discussed above, please contact my office at 204-632-7933 or email me at Mohinder.Saran@yourmanitoba.ca.

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