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Campaign seeks to add Farsi to B.C. school curriculum options

Group wants Farsi added to list of nine languages in policy covering second language requirements

Students in B.C.’s public schools could have another option for language studies, if a new campaign is successful.

The Farsi Dar B.C. campaign calls for Farsi, also identified as Persian, to be added to the list of nine languages included in the Education Ministry’s policy covering second language requirements for Grades 5 through 8.

Farsi is spoken in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and some Persian Gulf states and the latest Canadian census shows in B.C. it is the mother tongue of more than 43,000 residents and more than 28,000 consider it their first language at home.

Farsi Dar B.C. campaign founding member Amir Bajehkian says he believes those numbers don’t reflect all Persian speakers and census data shows Farsi is spoken more frequently in B.C. than French, German, Italian, Spanish or Japanese.

Those five languages, and Mandarin, Punjabi, Korean and American Sign Language are included in the list of languages approved by the B.C. school curriculum and Bajehkian says it’s time Farsi was also acknowledged.

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He says some local school board representatives, several provincial politicians and a number of municipal election candidates turned out Sunday at a public information session to support adding Farsi to the language policy.

The Canadian Press

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