Compromise made to Bill 96, English-speaking students still unhappy about impacts

“Still not a good situation,” says Eva Ludvig, part of Quebec Community Groups Network, about a change to Bill 96 that would see softened rules around required French language courses for English CEGEPs. Felisha Adam reports.

By Felisha Adam

Quebec’s minister responsible for the French language has made a compromise on Quebec’s French-language charter or Bill 96, which would soften French requirements for English CEGEP students.

But parents, students, and community groups say it still does not change the negative impacts placed on the future of English-speaking students.

“Is it better? Yes. But will this hurt student success? Absolutely. Is this still a disaster? Absolutely,” says Katherine Korakakis, the president of the English Parents Committee Association.

The sub-amendment will now give students at English CEGEPS the choice between passing three core courses in French or boosting the number of second-language French courses they take – from two to five.

A change Alexandrah Cardona the president of the Dawson Student Union says, “doesn’t alleviate any anxiety for the student population.”

Eva Ludvig, a board member of Quebec Community Groups Network, which has continued to voice concerns over Quebec’s language reform says, “it’s certainly not a good situation for our students in going into CEGEP by young people or facing additional burdens which other francophone students are not.”

Ludwig adds, there are many other barriers to English speaking students learning French, “there are certainly a large number of parents whose children either have learning difficulties or are not good in languages and who will be struggling.”


Currently, students with special needs would be given a derogation that would continue into CEGEP, something Korakakis says, is not made clear even with the new sub-amendment.

“My son would never, ever pass those courses. So that essentially means that a politician is deciding for my son that he gets a high school diploma.”

“At the end of the day, the government has still not consulted with any student groups,” says Cardona adding “…you would think politicians would be looking to increase access…to higher education, but [also] increased graduation rates, but this bill will do exactly the opposite.”

Quebec’s overhaul of its French-language charter and amendments made to English CEGEPS have not included the education sector in the decision-making process.

“We see ministers who don’t have expertise in education, making these decisions,” says Cardona.

According to a report by LaPresse, the Quebec government is consulting the education sector in order to implement English programs within French schools. A consultation Ludvig says the English community was never given.

“The contrast is incredible, which demonstrates that it’s not about education. It’s not about the French language. It’s about politics.”

If the amendment is adopted – the change would take effect in fall 2024.

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