[lg policy] Canada: School board OKs language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 16 14:55:00 UTC 2012

School board OKs language policy

By ALBERT KRAMBERGER, The Gazette April 11, 2012

The Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys says its new language
policy will help promote the optimal use of French within its diverse
community. While the West Island's French school board had already
adopted a French development policy in 2000 it was recently directed
by the Education Ministry to adopt a language policy.

"The Ministry of Education asked us to have an official policy
regarding the use of French," said Marguerite-Bourgeoys chairperson
Diane Lamarche-Venne, adding it's based on the Public Education Act
and French Language Charter which requires French to be the official
language used in school activities (except when related to learning
another language) or in the board's administrative departments.

"We were probably the first one, in 2000, to have a policy but we had
to bring it up (to date)," she said. "It's not much different than
what we had. It's to say out loud we are a French school board and
that French should be the first language to be used everywhere around
the school.

"Having said that, we are not going to a coercive state, not at all.
It's business as usual, and our business is to teach in French."

The new guidelines, adopted last month aim to make sure all staff
members and commissioners are responsible both individually and
collectively to make sure the use of French is optimized. As well, the
new guidelines are there to promote the cultural influence of the
French language and to ensure French is used as an integration vehicle
to Quebec's culture.

The board already had several initiatives in place to help ease its
allophone community into the French system, Lamarche-Venne said. About
57 per cent of its 50,000 students speak a mother tongue other than
French and they have backgrounds from about 180 different countries.

"It's one of many things to help, to remind, to orient," she said. "We
don't have any problems. We are sensitive to the fact a lot of parents
also don't speak French. We just put in place two years ago classes
for the parents in the schools at the same as the children so that
they can follow better their children through their process in the

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/School+board+language+policy/6438715/story.html#ixzz1sDPlkS5x

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