“There will be a teacher in every class,” assures Roberge –

“There will be a teacher in every class,” assures Roberge –

Jean-François Roberge assures that no class will be orphaned this year

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Marie Eve Morasse

Marie-Eve Morasse The press

In less than two months, nearly 6,000 people have applied to teach in Quebec schools, so many that the education minister is confident no class will be orphaned this year. However, just a few days before the start of the school year, these newcomers still have to “finish the interviews, hire them and give them professional support,” acknowledges Jean-François Roberge.

At the start of the school year, “there will be a teacher in every class,” Mr Roberge explained in an interview with La Presse. A teacher or “someone”? we ask him.

“Most of the time, the person who is going to become a teacher is going to be someone who is legally qualified […]but it happens, as has been the case for a number of years, that it is someone who has a temporary teaching license,” the minister replies.

Last spring, the government launched an advertising campaign to encourage high school graduates “in a subject taught in pre-school, primary and secondary school […] consider a career in education.

This had angered some teachers, who felt that such a campaign “minimised” a teacher’s role and overlooked the difficult working conditions in schools.

The thousands of people who have registered on the government platform are “people who come and fill positions in our classes,” the minister said.

Many are retired. Or people with a high school diploma in history, in French, in mathematics, in literature who say: I want to reorient myself, become a teacher.

Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education

Last year, on the first day of classes, Quebec schools were still 400 teachers short.

No “race to the bottom”

Although the certificates were handed out at the end of June, the Minister of Education still does not know how the students fared in the compulsory final exams, which will take place this year after a two-year break due to the pandemic.

“I don’t have all the results yet,” says Jean-François Roberge.

How does he explain that a union of CEGEP teachers observed this week that the training of students arriving at the college is not reaching the expected level?

Jean-François Roberge believes the pandemic and distance learning had a lot to do with it.

Speaking to the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) government, he said the Department of Education gave students who scored 57% or 58% a passing grade. “We have put an end to levelling,” states Jean-François Roberge.

A “safe” return, assures Quebec

The government wants to distribute 14 million self-tests in the coming weeks. “It will help people manage cases, prevent outbreaks and avoid bringing COVID to school,” the education secretary said.

He doesn’t think his ministry could have done more to improve ventilation, such as installing air purifiers in classrooms.

We must not go there with just opinions, we must go there with proven facts. Air purifiers are not Dr. Boileau, Public Health and INSPQ recommended devices. You must trust our experts. If we didn’t trust him, people would blame us.

Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education

During the summer holidays, repair work was carried out in the schools, he recalls.

This summer, Radio-Canada reported that 53% of schools in the province were rated D or E, meaning they are in poor or very poor condition. A percentage that has remained almost unchanged since the CAQ took office four years ago.

Figures refute the minister, who explains that schools that “were not on the radar screen” in the Liberal days were inspected under the CAQ. “There were buildings that we didn’t know the condition of, and when we inspected them, the picture darkened,” he says.

It would have been impossible to invest more in school infrastructure during the CAQ mandate, believes Mr. Roberge.

“In four years there will be twice as much money [que lors du précédent mandat] used to maintain, renovate and expand the schools. We can’t do more, we lack entrepreneurs,” said the minister.

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  • 3757 Number of non-legally qualified teachers in Quebec schools in 2020-2021

    Source: Quebec Ministry of Education