Quebec to Amend Bill 96 to Discount for English-Speaking Students

The Quebec minister responsible for French has compromised on a controversial amendment to Bill 96 that would require all English-language CEGEP students to take three program-related courses in French in order to graduate.

Instead, Simon Jolin-Barrett says students who do not have the necessary language skills to take core French courses will be allowed to replace them with three French lessons of 45 hours each.

Elizabeth Gosselin, the minister’s spokeswoman, clarified on Tuesday that the English CEGEPs will be able to offer an option to students who qualify for primary and secondary education in English.

The original amendment, proposed by the Liberal Party of Quebec and passed by a parliamentary committee, was heavily criticized by the province’s CEGEP federation as well as college administrators, who said they were not consulted.

The story continues under the ad

Read more:

CEGEP Calls Quebec’s Bill 96 Amendment “Terrible”

The Native Education Board also spoke out against the original amendment.

Critics argued that English-speaking students were being set up to fail.

The fear was that some students would not be able to graduate at all, while others would experience a sharp drop in grades and R scores. The grade evaluates a student’s academic performance and is used by Québec universities for selection purposes.

According to the CEGEP federation, more than 35 percent of the approximately 29,000 students enrolled in English-language CEGEPs do not have sufficient knowledge of French to take program-related courses in French.

Read more:

Quebec Indigenous Group Criticizes Prop 96 Amendment, Saying Hundreds of Students Will Fail Training

The changes, due to be submitted by Jolene-Barrett, will come into effect in 2024, with grades for French lessons counting towards an R score.

In a written statement in French, Gosselin said the minister’s goal of changing the province’s language laws remained unchanged.

“Let the French language find its rightful place in Quebec and give Quebecers, regardless of their mother tongue, all the tools for self-realization and the opportunity to fully participate in the life of Quebec society.”

The story continues under the ad

Gosselin added that the changes are intended to address shortcomings in English-speaking schools in terms of proficiency in the province’s official language.

In a statement to Olx Praca, the Liberal Party said it was pleased with the changes.

“Students are the real winners with this amendment. Upon graduation from CEGEP, their knowledge of French will improve, allowing them to contribute more to Quebec society.”

– with files from Gloria Henriquez and Felicia Parrillo of Olx Praca

© 2022 Olx Praca, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.