Provision of Translation Resources to Support Newcomer Families

Resolution Number: 

2011-06
Resolution

WHEREAS recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the population of non-English speaking newcomer families in Prince Edward Island schools, and

WHEREAS it is to everyone's benefit to have all parents engaged in their children's education andi n the activities of their local home and school associations, and

WHEREAS it is to everyone's benefit to have key school documents like School Development Plans and school handbooks accessible to all families, and

WHEREAS it is a significant impediment to full engagement when printed materials are available in English only and when meetings are conducted in English, and

WHEREAS the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada' s “Immigrant Student Liaison Program” and “English as an Additional Language” services provided to students do not extend to activities of the home and school, and

WHEREAS at Prince Street School a pilot project to engage newcomer parents in the local home and school by providing translation services has proved successful, and

WHEREAS the cost of translating printed materials and providing simultaneous translation at meetings is beyond the means of local home and school associations;

BE IT RESOLVED that the PEIHSF requests the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to provide funding and/or services to school districts and to local Home and School Associations so that, at schools where, in the opinion of the principal, there is a significant non-English speaking population of parents sharing a given language, the following translation services can be provided:

  1. Simultaneous translation of local Home and School Association meetings
  2. Translation of local Home and School Association meeting notices, agendas, meeting minutes and financial reports
  3. Translation of key school documents, such as School Development Plans and school handbooks
Consideration

Status: 

Passed
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Destination: 

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
English Language School Board
French Language School Board
Responses Received

Responses: 

Education and Early Childhood Development:  We applaud the pilot project of the Prince Street Home and School which focused on engaging parents in teh home and school activities of Prince Street Elementary by providing translation services.  You note its success in your resolution.  I twould be beneficial to learn more about the number of languages targeted for tyranslation and what types of information were translated.  As you are aware, the number of immigrants to PEI has increased a great deal over teh past several years.  We now have Islanders from over 60 different countries speaking more than 70 different languages.  It is our desire to have our new Islanders integrate into our communitiies and part of doing so is valuing their language.  However, it is very difficult to provide interpreter and translation services in all languages and we don't want to be exclusive.

Our EAL?FAL Reception Centre utilizes simultaneous uncertified translators to assist with the language assessment process and the registration of newcomer children into the school system.  They also use uncertified translators to translate some messages needed by the school system.  The budget line fo rthis service is not extensive.  As well, the use of uncertified interpreters and translators needs to be handled with caution as we need to ensure that the messages we are communicating either verbally or in text are accurate.  At present, the Population Secretariat is examining the possible need for policy and regulation surrounding interpretation and translation.

While we understand that some schools have been impacted more than others by the recent increase in immigration to PEI, there are more than 40 schools that have students who do not speak either English or French.  The services that we are currently providing through the EAL/FAL Reception Centre are provincial and not limited to those schools with larger newcomer populations.

We congratulate you on your integration of immigrant families into the work of the Home and School Associations.  We know that integration into our Island community leads to long term settlement and population growth.  However, at this time, we do not have the available funding to support this resolution.

Eastern School District:  The Eastern School District is in agreement that there is a benefit to have parents engageing in their children's education and in the activities of their local Home and School Association.

This resolution dealing with simultaneous trnaslation services and the translation of written documents has been directed to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development as a funding issue.  Due to the budget requirement for these services, the District will await direction from the Minister.

Western School Board:  The Western School Board view parents as partners.  We will work with the Home and School Association to ensure that, in schools where there is a significant non-English speaking population of parents sharing a given language, trnaslation be provided.  In June, our Western School Board Principals were contacted to determine if there was a significant non-English speaking population of parents in their respective schools in need of translation services.  At this time, Principals in four of our schools indicated they have one (1) family each who they felt would be in need of translation services.