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Protection of French | Quebec attacks private English-speaking CEGEPs that are not subsidized

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(Quebec) The Legault government is giving a new twist to its reform of Bill 101. In a series of amendments tabled on Wednesday, it provides for new mechanisms so that unsubsidized private CEGEPs do not become a bypass to the network. English public college, where the student body is frozen in the bill at 30,834 places.

The minister responsible for the French language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, also increased the scope of Bill 96 on Wednesday by limiting the growth of attestations of collegial studies (AEC) in English, these short programs leading to immediate preparation for employment. With this amendment, Quebec wants to “freeze the share occupied by AEC programs offered in the public and private subsidized English-language college network compared to all AEC programs offered in Quebec”.

“Between 2017 and 2019, the growth in the total offer of AEC programs offered in English is 206.6%,” says the minister’s office to justify these changes.

A “validated knowledge of French”

Quebec is also planning amendments to “freeze the share occupied by AEC programs offered in English in the public and private subsidized French-language college network” and “to make knowledge of French conditional on obtaining an AEC, both for the public than to the subsidized and non-subsidized private sector, except for the beneficiaries”.

“This validated knowledge of French will allow the student to interact, to flourish within Quebec society and to participate in its development. The form that this requirement will take will be defined by regulation of the Minister of the French Language, ”declared the office of Minister Jolin-Barrette without giving further details.

At the end of February, the Legault government once and for all closed the door to the application of Bill 101 in CEGEP, an issue that was being discussed within the government caucus itself. Quebec has instead modified its reform of the Charter of the French language to impose on all students of English-speaking CEGEPs three courses taught in French in order to obtain their diploma.

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