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Coquitlam school district approves Farsi language curriculum

Farsi is spoken by many Tri-City families. Soon, Farsi-speaking high school students will be able to write a challenge exam to gain credit towards graduation.
Farsi-speaking students could soon write a challenge exam to get credit after School District 43 (Coquitlam) approved a new language course.

School District 43 (Coquitlam) is well known for promoting language instruction among students.

It pioneered French Immersion and the Mandarin bilingual program.

Now, it's making it possible for students learning Farsi to get credit for their knowledge.

What's more, trustees approved a new Farsi language course for grades 5 to 12 that could be available to all B.C. school districts.

Assistant superintendent Reno Ciolfi told the Tri-City News the new Farsi language curriculum is a first for the province and, if added to the list of challenge exams, will give students who already speak Farsi an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and earn high school credit.

"Students that have a passion for learning Farsi and would like to have Farsi credit appear on their graduation transcript should have that opportunity — the decision of the board is now making that possible."

However, the curriculum has to be approved by the Ministry of Education before students will be able to take a challenge exam, which will be offered by the Delta school district.

The curriculum was developed with Farsi Dar BC, an organization that is working to have Farsi, also known as Persian, approved as a second language option in B.C. schools.

Two SD43 teachers also helped design the curriculum, which was approved by the board on Tuesday, May 10.

While approval of the curriculum doesn't immediately lead to the establishment of Farsi language education in SD43 schools, if approved by the ministry, it will allow any B.C. school district to teach the course if there is demand and a qualified instructor, Ciolfi said.

"What's in play right now is a well-developed Farsi curriculum that meets ministry of education requirements for language instruction," he said.

Approximately three per cent of families with students enrolled in SD43 speak Farsi at home.

Currently, the following language challenge exams are offered through the Delta School District: 

  • French 11
  • Korean 11 & 12 
  • Japanese 11 & 12
  • Mandarin 11 & 12 (traditional)
  • Mandarin 11 & 12 (simplified)
  • Punjabi 11 & 12
  • Spanish 11