Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik September 13, 2012 - 7:34 am

Quebec tells Nunavik school board to educate francophone kids in Kuujjuaq

Letter from Quebec's education department seeks immediate action

Elementary school-aged children in Kuujjuaq — except for a group of 15 francophone children — attend Pitakallak school. (FILE PHOTO)
Elementary school-aged children in Kuujjuaq — except for a group of 15 francophone children — attend Pitakallak school. (FILE PHOTO)

(updated at 9:35 a.m.)

KUUJJUAQ — Quebec’s education department has ordered the Kativik School Board to offer education to francophone children in Kuujjuaq so that 15 children who speak French as their mother tongue can attend school in French.

If not, a firmly-worded letter sent Sept. 11 in French and in an English translation by Louise Pagé, Quebec’s deputy minister of education, to Annie Popert, the KSB’s director general, and copied to two of the 10 Kuujjuaq parents who want their children educated in French, states “measures may be taken to rectify the situation.”

The letter, obtained by Nunatsiaq News, gives the school board two days to come up with a plan.

In the letter Pagé said she wanted to express her “concern regarding those students who are not currently attending school in the area under the jurisdiction of your school board.”

“As stipulated in section 17.0.59 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement and in section 88 of the Charter of the French Language, educational services in French must be provided, starting in Kindergarten,” Pagé said.

The solution proposed by the KSB for the parents, to offer five hours of French tutoring outside of school, “is not satisfactory to the parents, nor does it meet the requirement to provide educational services in French to these students.”

The letter asks the school board to produce a plan to educate Kuujjuaq’s francophone children by Sept. 13.

“To ensure the academic success of these students, all of whom are entitled to be schooled in French, you must rectify this situation without delay,” Pagé said.

The parents of 15 French first-language students in Kuujjuaq decided to educate their children outside of the school system after the school board said it wouldn’t support the parents’ plan to hire two teachers to teach their children full-time in French.

Instead, the KSB has suggested the students, whose mother tongue is French, should take five hours of French-language tutoring a week outside school hours.

The parents also point to Bill 101, the charter of the French language, which guarantees French-speaking and English-speaking residents of Quebec education in their mother tongue.

The school board has still not responded to a request from Nunatsiaq News for more information about its position.

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