Education Minister Jean-François Roberge on Tuesday rejected English school boards, who wanted Quebec to offer exemptions to young Ukrainian refugees to allow them to go to school in English.
The Charter of the French language provides that children must attend French-language school until the end of their secondary studies, unless they obtain an exemption.
“René Lévesque and Camil Laurin ensured that the Charter of the French language contained a humanitarian clause relating to education in the Anglophone system. Here is an excellent opportunity to use such a provision, ”said Dan Lamoureux, president of the Association of English School Boards of Quebec (ACSAQ), in a press release issued Tuesday.
The nine English school boards observe that many of these students “who have already been through so much” no doubt have English as a second language and urged the government to “show compassion”.
Quebec quickly closed the door to this request. The province has “the mandate to welcome” students and it is “able to do so in French-speaking schools, in compliance with the Charter of the French language,” said Education Minister Jean-François Roberge.
Law 101 applies “to all newcomers regardless of the language used in the country of origin”, he added.
School service centers are used to receiving students from various countries and Jean-François Roberge says he made sure that they were ready to welcome any students from Ukraine.
“We have interpreter services, psychosocial services, everything you need to welcome these people properly, reassure them, and allow them to integrate into Quebec society,” said the minister.
Quebec said last week that there is “no limit” to the number of Ukrainian refugees who could be welcomed into the province. At the Ministry of Education, it is explained that it is not possible, for the moment, to estimate how many new students Quebec schools could accommodate.
“The ministry will follow the situation very closely and will ensure that Ukrainian students benefit from all the support necessary for their integration, like all children whose parents choose Quebec as their host country,” wrote Bryan St-Louis. , spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, The Press last week.