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Ontario to open first French language HEI

The Canadian province of Ontario is set to establish its first French language university, the provincial government has announced.

There is a growing need for higher education in French in Ontario. Photo: flickr/Prayitno.

The university should aim to enrol over 1,000 full time students as early as 2023-2024

The university, which is scheduled to open in Toronto in 2020, will expand the availability of French post-secondary education for both French-speaking Canadians and international students in the province.

“The creation of a  French-language university is a milestone for Franco-Ontarians”

“Francophone culture and the French language have always been essential to Ontario’s identity and prosperity,” said Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Francophone Affairs, in a statement.

“The creation of a new French-language university, governed by and for Francophones, is a critical milestone for Franco-Ontarians and future generations.”

The university will be established in order to meet the growing need for French-language post-secondary education in Ontario.

According to a document put forward by the university planning board, the university should aim to enrol over 1,000 full time students as early as 2023-2024.

The institution will also focus on promoting mobility. The document outlines that welcoming both visiting professors and international students, as well as “increasing student exchanges at home and abroad would increase the reach of the university across the francophonie”.

It also points out that the creation of this university can also help with the province’s goal of attracting more French-speaking immigrants.

“The existence of a high-calibre French language university in Toronto would be a determining factor in the future achievement of this goal through the recruitment of an excellent faculty body from throughout the Francophonie (Canadian and international) and the recruitment of some of the most promising international students,” the proposal says.

A spokesperson for the Ontario government Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, said that as well as the university, the planning board has also recommended the creation of a Francophone Hub of Knowledge and Innovation, in order to create a francophone environment.

“The combination of the [university] and the Hub will allow French-language international students to pursue their studies in French and flourish in a French [environment] while at the same time expanding their ability to speak English within the greater multicultural diversity of the Greater Toronto Area,” she told The PIE News.

“Ontario’s recent membership to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie may act as a catalyst and encourage international students to consider attending the French-language university in central and southwest Ontario.”

There are 25,195 international students studying in Canada from countries where at least half of the population speaks French, according to 2016 IRCC data.

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