Nova Scotia’s students who study in French will have moreoptional courses to choose from by the end of a four-year pilotproject beginning this September. During the pilot project, the province’s Acadian school boardwill lead curriculum development for its students. The Departmentof Education will continue to approve new courses before they areimplemented. “Our goal is to provide more quality courses for students inAcadian schools in a shorter time frame,” said Education MinisterJamie Muir. “By concentrating curriculum expertise at the boardlevel, we’ll be able to provide Acadian students with as manyoptional courses as students who study in English.” For the first year of the pilot project, the Conseil scolaireacadien provincial (the Acadian board) will create a new processfor developing curriculum. A consulting firm will help the boardto create this process. The board will spend the next three years developing andimplementing new courses for students who study in French astheir first language. The Department will monitor curriculumdevelopment and approve courses to ensure students get a qualityeducation. “With this new approach, we’ll be more efficient as we will have the same people developing the curriculum and training ourteachers on how to implement the programs,” said Ken Gaudet,chair of the school board. “This makes sense for our boardbecause we have a small number of students and teachers.” The Acadian school board will have about 4,200 of the 147,400students expected to be enrolled in Nova Scotia schools in theupcoming school year. The province’s English school boards, whichare considerably larger, will continue to implement curriculumdeveloped by the Department. Acadian parents were consulted about the change through theFédération des parents acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse. “Our children are getting a quality education in French in allthe necessary subjects for graduation,” said Richard Laurin,acting president of the federation. “This pilot project takes thenext step to provide them with all the optional courses designedto meet our children’s specific needs.” Nova Scotia’s Minister of Acadian affairs, Chris d’Entremont,said the move will help strengthen Acadian culture in theprovince. “A cornerstone of any culture is the education of its youngpeople,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “Being able to offer more coursesin their own language can only be encouraging and helpful to ourstudents.” Teachers from two school boards are currently seconded to theDepartment to develop French curriculum. They will have inputinto the new process of course development during the first yearof the pilot project. They will then have the option of joiningthe Acadian school board to work on curriculum or returning totheir former positions with their school board. The new structure and process will be evaluated annually duringthe pilot project. After four years, a decision will be madewhether the board will continue to develop curriculum. French language education in Nova Scotia is financially supportedthrough federal-provincial Official Languages Education (OLE)agreements between the Department of Canadian Heritage and theDepartment of Education. Pending the renewal of a new Protocol onOfficial Languages in Education, the first year of this pilotproject will be cost-shared under the Canada-Nova ScotiaProvisional Arrangements for 2003-04. The Department will continue to develop curriculum for studentswho study French as a second language. The Department has been operating a provincial resource centrefor French teachers located at Université Sainte-Anne-Collège del’Acadie. The university had formerly operated the centre andwill now resume its operation.