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APRIL 18, 2018

Relative Importance of the Quality of the Physical Facilities of Francophone Schools Among the Factors Motivating s. 23 Rights Holders' Enrolment Choices

This report was prepared in 2013 for the purpose of litigation in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Benoît Gauthier, Circum's president, was retained on behalf of the Province of BC in order to prepare this report. He was asked to review existing documentation and to plan new data collection to determine the importance of physical condition of school facilities in the decision of Section 23 rights holders to send their children to Francophone or Anglophone primary and secondary schools.

Other than the analysis of existing sources, this assignment was based on the development, implementation and analysis of an original survey of Section 23 rights holders. In brief, this survey entailed the use of a pre-recruited panel, complemented by automated calling in British Columbia, and a Web-based questionnaire. Responses were gathered from 1,346 rights holders. This assignment may well have seen the first ever presentation of survey results from a pre-recruited panel and from automated calling in a Canadian court.

The questionnaire was complex for the designer but simple for the respondent. It involved rating several statements related to reasons for school choices while allowing for statistical control for the more profound attitudes of parents.

The analysis concluded that the most important factor determining the decision of rights holders to enrol in English elementary school was the socio-cultural identification of the parent. The proximity of the school was an obviously important reason for choosing an English elementary school as was the perceived quality of the teaching environment.

The most important factor determining the decision of rights holders to enrol in French elementary school was the socio-cultural identification of the parent as evidenced by their intangible connection to the community but also by their factual cultural assets like their personal schooling in French. The value placed by rights holders on bilingualism for their children was a second important contributing factor to their decision to enrol in French elementary schools.

Socio-cultural identification of the rights holder parent played a role in the selection of an English secondary school, but to a lesser extent than at the elementary level. The most frequently cited set of (unprompted) reasons to choose an English secondary school was that it was closer, that there was no French secondary school in the area, or that there was simply no other school than the English school chosen.

The key factor impacting rights holders' decisions to enrol children in French secondary school was cultural attachment or socio-cultural identification. The need to teach children bilingualism skills came next.

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