Quebec wants McGill, Concordia to double their proposed French targets: report

The Quebec government reportedly wants McGill and Concordia University to propose an even more ambitious plan than the one already presented to ensure students graduate with a good knowledge of French.

According to La Presse, Quebec Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry wants those universities to guarantee 80 per cent of their non-French-speaking students – from elsewhere in Canada or abroad – graduate with an intermediate level of French.

That’s twice the number of students than initially proposed by McGill and Concordia.

The francisation proposal was part of the English universities’ attempt to convince the CAQ government to back down on its proposed tuition increase for out-of-province Canadian students – from $9,000 to $17,000.

Quebec wants to price English-language universities out of the market for Canadian students to reduce their numbers in the province and protect the French language.

Last month, McGill, Concordia, Bishop’s – which was also targeted by the province but could reportedly face certain exemptions – promised to “substantially” increase the number of French courses offered if current tuition rates were maintained. The plan includes incentives to learn French for students from outside the province and mandatory French classes at the two Montreal universities.

The La Presse report is suggesting an official announcement from the province is expected this week.

The report also details a plan for the Legault government to significantly reduce tuition fees for French and Belgian students to attract French speakers to Quebec. It’s also considering including students from Switzerland.

If enacted, those students would pay the same fees as Quebec students, roughly $3,000, as opposed to $9,000 – the rate currently imposed on students from other Canadian provinces.

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