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  • Writer's pictureAnna Robertson

Different exit exams for franco, anglo students

Accessing an English public-school education in Quebec has presented challenges to the minority anglophone community ever since Bill 101 was passed in 1977. Proving eligibility to access an English education has been a requirement since that time, and school-age children who attend schools in the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB) have always had to prove their eligibility for an education in English.

In early January the Low Down reported that recent changes announced by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Quebec would also require CEGEP students in the province to produce their hard copy eligibility certificates to prove they were eligible for an English education.

Students who have been attending a school in the WQSB, which is 45 per cent of Heritage’s population, have nothing to worry about in terms of their eligibility, but they will still need to provide their certificate, said Heritage director general Terry Kharyati.

Based on new information from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Quebec, “WQSB students who hold a permanent Certificate of Eligibility for English Instruction do not have to take any steps regarding their eligibility status to apply to CEGEP,” explained Kharyati on Feb. 9.

But other students who do not hold a Certificate of Eligibility for English Instruction, must have been declared eligible to study in English before the end of their high school studies, Kharyati explained. The procedure for applying to an educational organization for a certificate of eligibility is available on the Ministry of Education’s website, under Eligibility for English Education.

Kharyati and Academic Dean, Lisa Peldjak, clarified that the underlying issue is not so much access to education at an English CEGEP like Heritage, but rather the exit language exam that students are required to write. Without English language eligibility, francophone and allophone students will have to take specific French language courses and write the French language exit exam in order to graduate.

In contrast, students with the English eligibility certification will write the English language exit exam. These students will be mandated to take French language courses, but they will be in a different stream of courses from the francophone and allophone students.

“It’s been a mixed message since the beginning of this process,” said Kharyati, adding that Heritage College communicates changes regarding language requirements to the community as soon as they are received from the ministry.

An information session for prospective students will be held at Heritage College on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

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