03/07/2013 06:33 EST | Updated 05/07/2013 05:12 EDT

PQ Scraps English-Immersion Plan


MONTREAL - A plan to teach every Quebec child English in the sixth grade is being scrapped by the new Parti Quebecois government.

The plan was created by the previous Liberal government and it would have placed all sixth-graders, those not already in English schools, in an intensive immersion program for half the year.

The new Parti Quebecois government, which is generally more nationalist on language matters, says it doesn't actually have a problem with schools adopting that immersion program.

But it says they can do so on a voluntary basis.

The move came after the provincial teachers' union had complained that the objective of creating a wall-to-wall program for every school, by 2015, was unrealistic. It said the need for such a program, as well as the availability of English teachers, varied widely from one region to the next.

It also expressed concern that the forced focus on English would harm students' progress in other subjects.

The Liberals, now the official Opposition, called the move a step backward for Quebec. The Coalition party, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction that more power would be devolved to individual schools.

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