Alberta Ukrainian Bilingual Education

Read an update from Magdalena Kaltseis, a Post-Doctoral fellow from Austria, who worked on the processing of the Ukrainian Bilingual Education in Alberta collection at the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives.

25 July 2022

Magdalena Kaltseis is a Post-Doctoral fellow from Austria, and during her 7-month fellowship at MLCS at the University of Alberta, she has done research on the role of the native speaker in French, Russian, and Ukrainian languages. While in Edmonton, Magdalena has also been working at the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives at the Kule Folklore Center, where she has been processing a collection on Ukrainian Bilingual Education in the province of Alberta, with a focus on Edmonton. 

This collection contains information about the establishment of the Ukrainian Bilingual Program (UBP) in the Edmonton Catholic and Public School systems. Starting as a three-year pilot project, the UBP was finally established in 1978 and further extended in the following years. 

Parental groups played an essential part in the existence of bilingual programs in general, and for the UBP in particular, because they lobbied governments and actively engaged in local school boards in order to convince them to establish the bilingual program in their schools.

The collection offers information about various parental groups’ activities, including the Ukrainian Bilingual Association (UBLA), assisting the UBP’s establishment in Edmonton Public Schools, and the Parent Advisory Committee/Society (PAC/PAS), serving the UBP’s needs in Edmonton’s Separate School System. 

In 1984, the Alberta Parents for Ukrainian Education Society (APUE), an umbrella organization for the existing parental groups, was founded to coordinate support, promotion, and expansion of Ukrainian language education in Alberta schools. The collection contains documents concerning this umbrella organization, including their events and activities from 1984 to 1994. There is also information about parental organizations in other provinces, and in particular the Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education (MPUE). 

Finally, this collection offers insights into press reporting on the Ukrainian Bilingual Program in Alberta. It is, therefore, of interest to everyone interested in education policy and bilingual education and programs in the prairie provinces.

We are extremely grateful to Magdalena for her diligent work on describing the collection and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.