Bilingual education hot topic in Quebec

Feb. 16, 2008 at 7:39 PM

MONTREAL, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Schools that offer intensive English classes are becoming increasingly popular among francophone families in Quebec.

Parents believe their children will do better after they leave school if they are bilingual, the National Post reported.

At Ecole Saint-Andre-Apotre, a sixth-grade classroom has a sign that reads "Behind this door we speak English."

"Children often say, 'My mother and father told me that later it will be important for me to be able to speak English when I get a job,'" Marie Peloquin, the principal, told the newspaper. "Learning the two languages is highly valued by the parents."

But bilingual education remains a sensitive topic. Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Quebecois, was forced to backtrack after saying publicly that the province's children should be bilingual by the time they leave school.

"For old Quebec, English has remained the language of the conqueror rather than a tool allowing Quebecers to conquer the world," Andre Pratte, editorial page editor of La Presse, wrote.

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