English-speaking universities propose to better Frenchize their non-Quebec students

Quebec’s three English-speaking universities say they took a “major step” Monday at the direction of Quebec Premier François Legault, offering to Frenchize their students from outside the province if the government doesn’t double down . their tuition fees.schooling.

Now they hope to get an answer by the end of the week from Mr. Legault and his Minister of Higher Education, Pascale Déry.

The two elected officials met on Monday morning for an hour with the chancellors of the three English-speaking universities in the province, specifically McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s, to hear their apprehensions and their joint proposal in relation to the intention of the government to go from 8,992 to 2024. The minimum tuition fees for Canadian students who do not reside in Quebec are approximately $17,000. International students will have to pay $20,000 to study in Quebec.

“The new pricing model guarantees that Quebec universities, regardless of the language in which they conduct their activities, will no longer be competitive with universities in the rest of Canada,” fear the rectors, in a long written proposal presented to the Legault government. . “For Bishop’s University, its survival depends on it,” adds the letter, which specifies that Concordia and McGill universities, meanwhile, anticipate combined losses of more than $100 million annually, “under conservative scenarios.”

“If we lose Canadians outside of Quebec, not only from a financial point of view, it is a catastrophe for us, but also from an identity point of view, we will erase the university that we have been for 180 years,” says the director and vice-director. the chancellor of the Bishop University of Sherbrooke, Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, in an interview with duty. “It’s existential for us,” continues the chancellor, who expects to lose 90 per cent of his students from elsewhere in Canada if tuition fees are increased as planned next year.

Franciscan the students

According to the Legault government, these changes in tuition fees in the university network, announced on October 13, are essential to guarantee the protection of the French language in Quebec, especially in Montreal. However, the chancellors of the province’s three English-speaking universities set a target on Monday that at least 40% of non-French-speaking students enrolled in their institutions’ degree programs would achieve a French level of 6 on the scale from Quebec to before obtaining his diploma.

In order to do this, they propose, in particular, to increase in three years the number of mandatory courses in French as a second language that are offered in their establishments, to offer more opportunities for immersion courses in French, as well as “activities to promote Quebec culture ” and scholarships for students who reach a certain level of French. All on the condition that Quebec agrees to backtrack on planned changes to tuition fees in the English-speaking university network.

“I know there are people who think that English-speaking universities are vectors of Anglicization in Quebec and Montreal. In my opinion, I think it is a reading a little out of step with the facts”, he says in an interview with duty On Monday, the president of Concordia University, Graham Carr, who claims that “at least three quarters” of the students at his institution “are bilingual”. Therefore, Mr. Carr believes that English-speaking universities must “be part of the solution” for the protection of French in Quebec.

“We consider ourselves allies of the government”, adds the chancellor and vice-chancellor of the Bishop’s University of Sherbrooke, Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, according to whom the English-speaking university network “can help the government achieve its objectives in a linguistic area. of sight The rector is also “optimistic” about the possibility that Monday’s meeting will lead to concrete progress on this matter in the coming days. According to him, “it is really an important step” that the rectors achieved on Monday by meeting with Prime Minister François Legault.

“What the Prime Minister told us is that he would answer us very quickly (…) We hope that this week there will be comments on the proposal we made,” Mr. Lebel-Grenier.

It has been joined the duty, Minister Pascale Déry’s office welcomed the rectors’ “desire” to “Frenchify English-speaking students more”, considering it “a step in the right direction”. “Now, we remain firm in our principles: it is not up to Quebec taxpayers to finance the education of thousands of Canadian students outside of Quebec,” adds the cabinet, which promises to “continue” its discussions with English-speaking universities.

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