REGINA, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - This year marks the 40th anniversary of Explore (formerly the Summer Language Bursary Program), which was established in 1971 by the federal government and the provinces and territories to foster the study of French and English as a second language among Canada's youth.

Since its inception, Explore has grown to be a genuine tradition. Each year, thousands of students from across the country pack their bags and head to one of the many universities and colleges that offer Explore's five-week intensive immersion course, where they leave their mother tongue behind to embark on a journey of discovery — both of another language and of another culture.

Students stay in residence or board with local families and are engaged every day in full-day language-learning experiences that include formal instruction, extracurricular activities, and community involvement. Since the program was first launched, close to one quarter million young people have taken up the challenge of learning their second official language and increasing their understanding of English- and French-Canadian cultures.

"I know I speak for all ministers responsible for education when I say how proud I am of the success of Explore. It is now part of our cultural fabric," said the Honourable Diane McGifford, Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and Manitoba's Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy. "CMEC is committed to continuing Canada's long tradition of quality official-languages education, both through individual provincial and territorial initiatives and through pan-Canadian programs like Explore."

Fortieth-anniversary gala celebrations will take place later today in Regina, Saskatchewan, where course directors of the postsecondary educational institutions that offer Explore are gathered for their annual meeting. Other commemorative events will take place throughout the 2011 spring and summer immersion sessions.

More about Explore

For more information about Explore, visit www.myexplore.ca. Explore is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and is administered by provinces and territories, in cooperation with CMEC.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the constitutional jurisdiction for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca

SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-804-6548
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
E-mail: c.bailey@cmec.ca

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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