In a move sure to piss off francophones from coast to coast, Carleton University’s journalism department has decided that students no longer have to demonstrate a proficiency in French to graduate. (via J-Source)
Considering that half the summer interns The Gazette picks every year come from Carleton (the other half tend to come from Concordia), this seems like a bad idea.
As Graham Fraser, Canada’s official languages commissioner, points out, this isn’t just about journalists working in Quebec. Even those in Victoria will occasionally have to find themselves translating French text into English to understand a story better.
Carleton’s reasoning, and I suppose it’s understandable to a point, is that many students choose to work elsewhere (like outside the country) when they graduate. And many of those students come from elsewhere in the first place. They have no use for French.
But if that’s the reasoning, why bother having language proficiency at all? They require students to have a basic understanding of English and now another language of their choice. What’s the point if not to have the proper skills to practice journalism in Canada? Should learning about Canadian libel law also be optional for people who expect to work overseas?