|PQ mantra "Nope, we don't need English to find a job"|
Unlike French CEGEPs which accept any and all who apply, English CEGEPs have their enrolment capped, with no government, Liberal or separatist daring to increase capacity.
"Quebec City’s only English-language CEGEP has had to turn away hundreds of students due to jam-packed registration.
“A lot of students, around 400 students,” said CEGEP Champlain St. Lawrence campus director Edward Berryman. “We had to say no to them because we’re simply at the maximum capacity.”
Among the college’s students, 75 per cent are graduates from Francophone high schools, 15 per cent are from Anglophone schools and the rest have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French." Link
|Admission standards for French CEGEPS|
The inequity in application standards between English and French CEGEPs is stunning and so the English CEGEPs are attracting the best of the best students regardless of language background.
This has the perverse effect of limiting access to Anglo students who may have very good grades, but not good enough to compete with elite francophones and ethnics who opt for obvious reasons to go the English CEGEP route.
Holding the position, as does the academic elite in the English CEGEP system that the schools should be open to everyone does a disservice to the Anglophone community as long as enrollment is limited.
Let us look at the numbers.
Quebec CEGEPSs, both English and French serve 177,000 students of which 27,000 attend school in one of the five English CEGEPs.
(By the way, and not germane to this discussion, but interesting in and of itself is the fact that women make up 58% of the students.)
The 27,000 places in English CEGEPs represents 15% of all CEGEP places in Quebec, which seems rather generous when one considers that Anglophones (defined by those who attended English high school) make up but 8% of the Quebec population.
But the hic is that half the places in these English CEGEPs are occupied by Francophones and Ethnics who graduated French high school, leaving about 8% of the total places for the 8% anglophones in the province which would seem reasonable, but alas, is not.
Anglophones choose to attend post-secondary education at a rate almost 30-50% higher than their francophone counterparts, so the strain is obvious.
And so for some programs, like science at John Abbot College, applicants won't even be considered without an 80%+ overall average, a hefty burden that only elite students can muster.
Now the English CEGEPs have a gentleman's agreement with the Education department not to encourage Francophones and Ethnics to apply to their schools, so there is no advertising or other encouragement, but they still face an onslaught of applications.
With the Liberal government committed to freezing enrolment in English CEGEPs, it makes for a difficult situation for Anglo students with good but not phenomenal grades.
And so that takes us to the Parti Quebecois policy convention that wrapped up today and where the subject of access to English CEGEP was hotly debated with the militants demanding that the rules of Bill 101 be applied, limiting Francophones and Ethnics to French CEGEPs.
This idea was fought back by the party elite because they feared the backlash from the over 63% of francophones that back open access.
And so the compromise was offered whereby funding to English CEGEPs would be cut back to reflect the 8% reality of the English minority.
Now I'm surprised that while the reaction in the English media was negative, nobody so far has pointed out the obvious. If funding is cut, but open access maintained, it would mean that fewer students would be admitted, but still include Francophones and ethnics. This would drive down the number of Anglophones allowed to attend English CEGEPs!
Perhaps it would mean that access would require a scholastic average of over 90%!
Now language militants continue to believe that an English CEGEP education automatically leads to language transfers by Francophones assimilating into the English community. It assumes that those who grew up in a French home and went to French school until high school graduation would magically transform themselves into Anglophones by virtue of a two or three year English CEGEP experience. Pedalling this 'Chicken Little' mantra that the sky will fall is stock in trade for desperate losers trying to hold back ambitious and talented young francophones and ethnics.
Language militants have even made a more pernicious argument, that 'mixing' of the communities in CEGEP will lead to more mixed marriages and coupling, thus diluting the precious 'de souche' stock, an idea that just doesn't border on racism, but clearly defines it.
Racism aside, it isn't even true. When English/French or Ethnic/French couples get together, in two-thirds of those cases, the children attend French school.
Now the PQ came up with the comical idea of French CEGEPs offering more courses in English thus allowing for students to learn English and maintain their French heritage.
It's a good idea in theory, but one that could never happen.
I could imagine the friction between outraged student language militants opposing such an idea in their schools as well as the teachers who are largely separatists.
Offering English courses in French CEGEPs would mean hiring English language professors and getting rid of an equal amount of French language professors, something the union would never allow.
And finally, I could only imagine English classes where teachers greeted students to their English class with this scrawled on the blackboard.
Elite French students seek entry into English CEGEPs not only because they want to hone up their English, but also to soak up the atmosphere and help prepare them for living in a world that uses English as the lingua franca. They seek out a school that has the higher academic standards that generates a student body commiserate with their own academic success, something French CEGEPs could never offer.
And that folks, is the sad truth.