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Deal boosts student mobility between France and Canada

Canada and France have signed a cooperation agreement to improve professional opportunities for students studying for a degree in 'French as a foreign language' in France.

The agreement will pave the way for cooperation between the leaders of 34 French and Canadian universities and increase student mobility between the two countries.

The letter of intent signed on 16 May at the French Embassy in Ottawa by the Conference of University Presidents of France, the Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne or ACUFC, and Universities Canada also addresses the growing need for French-language teachers in Canada.

This agreement will encourage Canadian students in French-language teaching and francophone programmes to study or work in France.

The agreement will also encourage students and graduates of 'French as a foreign language' teaching programmes in France to come to Canada.

After completing the required supplemental training in a Canadian university and meeting the accreditation standards specific to each province, they could hold positions as primary or secondary French-language teachers in francophone institutions or schools offering French immersion programmes.

This initiative will pave the way for collaboration among the leaders of 34 French and Canadian universities, delegates from several provinces, and representatives from the governments of Canada and France.

In a press statement, Universities Canada said that as an “outward-looking country, Canada is a destination of choice for international students. This initiative will enhance the synergy of exchange that already exists between Canada and France, notably the special agreement on youth mobility signed last year.”

Allister Surette, co-chairman of the ACUFC – Canada’s association of francophone colleges and universities – and president of Nova Scotia’s Université Sainte-Anne, said: “We are delighted with this historic declaration, which was designed to address the lack of teachers in French-language schools and others featuring French immersion programmes in the country’s minority French-speaking communities.”

He said Canada’s Francophone universities are pillars of the communities they serve and substantial contributors to their social, cultural and economic development.

“The partnerships and agreements between French and Canadian universities which will emerge from this letter of intent are sure to be beneficial not only for our educational establishments but also for the communities where we live and work,” he said.

Dominic Giroux, vice-chair of the Universities Canada board of directors and president of Laurentian University, said: “As a major player on the international scene, Canada greatly values its partners and simply cannot afford to stop looking outside its borders.

“It is crucial for our future on the world stage to provide students with a chance to study and work overseas and form bonds with people worldwide. We sincerely believe that this memorandum can contribute to the development of teaching in French and the French language in Canada by fostering student mobility between our two countries.”

The ACUFC, Canada’s association of francophone colleges and universities, represents 21 francophone or bilingual post-secondary teaching establishments outside Quebec. Its objective is to improve access to high-quality post-secondary education in French across the nation and thus stimulate the visibility and vitality of French-speaking communities and of Canada’s francophone element as a whole.
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