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.