OPEN LETTER – As Presidents of theAcfas Central and regional Acfas, we are concerned about the tendency of university programs and courses in French to be the target of cuts in several Canadian provinces during difficult economic times. We would like to remind you that this training in French is a capital element of our political, economic, diplomatic, social and cultural prosperity.
Lyne Sauvageau, Renée Corbeil, Valérie Lapointe-Gagnon, Patrick Noël, Stella Spriet, Selma Zaiane-Ghalia and regional members – Acfas
In recent months, once again, a decrease in the offer of courses in French has been announced in several bilingual and English-language universities outside Quebec. We know that exercises to rationalize university programs are necessary and that courses in English have also been abolished.
Courses in French have already been phased out in recent years, and we fear that this movement will increase. It is essential to offer a variety of university courses in French in all Canadian provinces to ensure the vitality of the French language, of research in French as well as to respect the fundamental right of students to be trained in French in the domain of their choice.
We also wish to recall the need for governments to better support francophone universities and campuses located in minority settings in Canada, because they contribute to the richness and development of their community. University programs in French are also crucial to ensuring the maintenance and development of the bilingualism of citizens.
Many of them have studied in French language or French immersion schools in elementary and secondary school, but must, once at university, turn to English to study. in the program that interests them, or change province to continue their studies in French.
In Canada, there is a cruel imbalance between the university offer in French and in English and there is a lack of programs and courses in French in several regions. It is therefore crucial to preserve those who are in place.
In addition, in several provinces, the disappearance of a program in French within a university leads, it is important to underline, the impossibility of studying this subject in French in the province itself. Because of this fragility, when financial restriction measures must be put in place, it is important to use evaluation criteria adapted to programs in French. Let us make sure we find the means to maintain our achievements, thus saving a lot of time and money.
In addition, these Francophone programs and courses are also linked to specific lines of research, for example on the study of the Canadian Francophonie. These lines of research are crucial for obtaining convincing data that will guide public policies affecting Francophone minority communities.
It is essential to generate knowledge about these communities in order to make informed decisions and to act adequately and effectively with them. Thus, the disappearance of certain francophone programs and courses also generates the loss of research expertise in the provinces and in the country.
Let us not forget that universities are more than a place of training; they represent a living environment for the faculty and the student populations. Also, a university or a course is sometimes the only place where an individual can express himself in French in his daily life.
We therefore invite English-language and bilingual governments and post-secondary educational institutions to pool their efforts to support the vitality of the French language in Canada and members of their community who wish to study in French.
We also urge the federal government to set aside a fund to stabilize the funding of Francophone universities, campuses and programs in minority settings, in order to ensure their sustainability and development.
Acfas and its regional Acfas are ready to make their contribution, with the expertise of their members and partners, in this dossier.
Lyne Sauvageau, President of Acfas
Renée Corbeil, President of Acfas-Sudbury
Valérie Lapointe-Gagnon, President of Acfas-Alberta
Patrick Noël, President of Acfas-Manitoba
Stella Spriet, President of Acfas-Saskatchewan
Selma Zaiane-Ghalia, President of Acfas-Acadie
And the members of the management committees of the regional Acfas
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