Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick Comment: Quebec Students Attracted to English

Teachers in Quebec are wondering why so many students in the province decide to switch to English after high-school. They've actually commissioned a study to try and determine the reasoning behind the mysterious phenomenon.

Quick guess: it's because they want to make money.

Granted I'm just hypothesizing without any real facts to stand on, but the correlation between things young people want and cost seems pretty clear. It makes sense that young people would want to have a decent grasp of both French and English since bilingualism is unequivocally an opportunity providing asset. Unless you want to pigeonhole yourself in a career that is exclusive to Quebec, learning English is just a good way to give yourself options. To me the statistics don't signal a general departure from French language/culture, as the Quebec teachers seem to see it. Rather this says that Quebec youths are cognizant of the realities of Canadian business and don't want to be sold short. They want to speak English so they can compete with the rest of the country instead of becoming isolated in an insular province.

What riles me is the predictable reactionary call to extend mandatory French schooling past high school. Of course any validation of the English language is immediately a threat to Quebec culture and should be regulated out of existence. It's not as though that logic is exactly what creates a turn towards English at the earliest opportunity possible. The only thing accomplished by prohibiting English teaching is to hold back Quebecois youth from being able to work at the same level as the rest of the country. It's regressive thinking that is outdated and foolhardy and it does nothing to improve matters for the province of Quebec.

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