Anglophone CEGEPs, an accelerator to anglicization

Quebec is much more respectful and generous towards its English-speaking community than the other provinces are towards their French-speaking community.

Indeed, while the English-speaking community of Quebec accounts for 8.1% of the Quebec population, it is overrepresented in our schools, CEGEPs and universities. At the primary and secondary levels, 10.3% of students pursue studies in English-speaking establishments; at college, this percentage is 17.5% and at university it is 32.3%.

Since these are public establishments financed by the State on the basis of the number of pupils or students, it must therefore be concluded that Quebec over-finances the English-language school network to the detriment of the French-language network. For Anglophone CEGEPs, this overfunding is equivalent to double that to which they would be entitled if their funding were established in proportion to the demographic weight of the Anglophone community.

As Law 101 applies to the primary and secondary levels, access to school is regulated according to its provisions. But when the time comes to choose the language of instruction at the college level, the “sacrosanct” rule of free student choice applies. Thus, in Anglophone CEGEPs, only 41% of students are of Anglophone stock, while 20% are of Francophone stock and 39% of Allophone stock…

The student body of Anglophone CEGEPs enrolled in pre-university programs is made up of 59% Francophone and Allophone students. It will be normal for them to continue their university studies in an English-speaking establishment and later integrate into a sector of the labor market where the use of the English language is privileged. By allowing English-speaking CEGEPs to admit more than twice as many students as they accept from their own linguistic community, we make them accelerators of anglicization.

Here, it is important to distinguish between anglicization and French-English “bilingualization”. Whether in the other Canadian provinces, in the United States and in most countries of the world, English is either the mother tongue or the second language. Thus, for Quebecers, mastering English is almost indispensable in terms of the economy and employment, particularly in the sectors of commerce, finance, telecommunications, tourism, high technology, research , etc.

Taking note of this reality, the State has introduced mandatory English courses into the school curriculum from primary to CEGEP. Thus, according to Statistics Canada, the French–English bilingualism rate among young Quebecers aged 5 to 17 was 28.3% in 2006 and, for the same cohort aged 5 to 17 in 2016, it is then increased to 66%. On the island of Montreal, this rate was even higher than 80%. Consequently, is it necessary for young Francophones and Allophones to go to an Anglophone CEGEP to learn a language they already master?

Since bilingualism is acquired after Secondary V, there is therefore reason to stop making English CEGEPs vehicles for the anglicization of Quebec. Yet this is what the recent government project to reform the Charter of the French language continues to do. It maintains the pedagogical estimates for all English-speaking CEGEPs at 30,834 full-time students, whereas it would be more appropriate to apply to them the prescriptions of Bill 101 on the language of instruction.

Courtesy picture

Roch Tremblay
Former General Manager of Collège Ahuntsic

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