After first announcing a ten-year moratorium, the Legault government now intends to permanently freeze the number of places in English-speaking CEGEPs.
The Minister responsible for the French Language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, tabled an amendment to this effect yesterday, as part of the study of Bill 96.
The amendment could be adopted today, in favor of the government majority.
Currently, the reform proposed by the CAQ government allows a maximum annual increase of 8.7% on the total growth of the college population, in order to respect the demographics of the English-speaking population.
Simon Jolin-Barrette is now proposing to freeze this number at 30,834 students, permanently.
Quebec thus wishes to reverse the steam: with demographic growth, Mr. Jolin-Barrette predicts that the student population will increase from 82.5% on the French-speaking side in 2019 to 88.8% in 2039.
Solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal, however, argued that this approach risks creating a certain elitism, since only the “crème de la crème” of French-speaking students will now be able to access these CEGEPs with quotas.
Three courses in French
Minister Jolin-Barrette also passed another amendment yesterday, which will require all students in English-speaking CEGEPs to pass at least three courses in French to obtain their college diploma.
The measure is based on a proposal presented by the Quebec Liberal Party last spring.
The CAQ proposed exempting the historic English-speaking minority from this obligation, but these were finally included at the request of the Liberals.
The three courses should be related to the study program. In other words, they cannot concern physical education or the teaching of French as a second language.
No to Law 101
With these measures, Quebec is improving its reform of the Charter of the French language, at a time when several critics accuse it of not going a step further, by imposing Bill 101 on CEGEPs.
The PQ MP Pascal Bérubé also failed to have an amendment to this effect adopted yesterday.
“I accuse this government of non-assistance to a language in danger”, declared the deputy, pastiche a famous formula of Émile Zola.
Another amendment was also tabled yesterday. He proposes “that all senior leaders have a good knowledge of the French language”.
Projected effect of frost
Source: Government of Quebec