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  • Hunter Cresswell

Bill 96 forces students into courses in French

English, histoire, science, mathématiques, art and musique — this is what English CEGEP students’ course load could look like under Quebec language Bill 96.

On Feb. 23 during a Quebec National Assembly committee meeting on culture and education, CAQ Minister for the French Language Simon Jolin-Barrette proposed an amendment to the bill that will require students at English CEGEPs to take at least three courses in French, which aren’t French language or physical education courses, to graduate.

“The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that a student who has not been declared eligible for instruction in English and who is enrolled in a program leading to a college diploma that is offered in English nevertheless completes a minimum of three courses in French, including courses other than language of instruction, second language and physical education courses,” Jolin-Barrette said. “The institution must ensure that these courses are given to the student.”

On Feb. 24, the same committee moved to solidify Bill 96’s English CEGEP capacity cap. It would freeze the English CEGEP student population at its current level — 17.8 per cent of all CEGEP students in Quebec. But with the growing population, that student population maximum would mean that English CEGEP students would represent only 11.2 per cent of the total CEGEP student population by the 2039-2040 school year, according to the Task Force on Linguistic Policy.