Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Quebec wants to move forward with the teacher assignment process to put an end to the uncertainty that hovers at the start of each school year around the number of vacant positions.

Assigning all teachers in June, a mission impossible?

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Nicolas Prévost (left) is president of the Fédération québécoise des establishments d'enseignement. Kathleen Legault is president of the Montreal Association of School Directors.

  • Julie Marceau (View profile)Julie Marceau

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To avoid classes being without a teacher in the weeks preceding the start of the school year, Quebec would like the assignment questions to be resolved in June, and not at the start of the school year. But for the majority of school administrators to whom Radio-Canada spoke, as for the unions, this request presented at the negotiating table is currently unrealistic.

That doesn't make any sense. The choice of times is made in August. It brings psychodrama every year! , denounced in recent days the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville. This is a lens that is extremely firm. We need to have a less chaotic return to school, added Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel on Wednesday.

In fact, both Prime Minister François Legault and his ministers repeat daily that they are ready to increase their salary offer if the unions agree to be more flexible on this allocation.

However, the managers at the helm of this very complex process believe that the government is on the wrong track.

Radio-Canada has learned that the three largest Quebec associations of school managers, which represent hundreds of school principals and their deputies throughout Quebec, believe that the assignment session of the month #x27;August is necessary.

We cannot prevent pregnancies, surprise resignations, moves, sick leave. We cannot know how many reception classes we will have to open either. The only thing we could perhaps do is to make parents aware of the importance of registering their children as quickly as possible, says the president of the Association. of school management (AMDES), Kathleen Legault, who represents 600 managers on the island of Montreal.

AMDES also underlines that the highly publicized report of 8,558 vacant positions in August, revealed by the Minister of Education, corresponded to only 7% of teachers.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">That means that 93% of teachers were already affected, she emphasizes.

This figure was reduced to 1,300 positions two weeks later.

The managers who manage the headaches of these assignments do not have chairs at the negotiating tables, which they deplore. Only representatives of school service centers are present.

The Fédération québécoise des directions d'enseignement establishment (FQDE), which represents more than 2,000 schools across Quebec, adds that the importance of the August sessions is also linked to the financing rules dictated by the Ministry of Education.

According to its president, Nicolas Prévost, a school will favor 10 well-filled classes rather than 11 in the event that certain students are ultimately not present (due to a move, for example) to avoid financial penalties.

Currently, it is impossible to do [advance assignment] , completely impossible!

A quote from Nicolas Prévost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institution Directors

School principals are always very conservative. If the financial rules allowed a certain latitude, that would ensure that our school organization would be organized more quickly, indicates Mr. Prévost.

This room for maneuver is necessary, adds the president of the Quebec Association of School Management Personnel (AQPDE), Carl Ouellet, whose members are located in the Capitale-Nationale region and on the south shore of Montreal.

In August, you need to have a way out for changes, moves, new arrivals, he says.< /p>Open in full screen mode

Carl Ouellet is president of the Quebec Association of School Management Personnel.

The three organizations affirm that greater union flexibility is possibly necessary in certain school service centers, but they are unanimously concerned about the Legault government's desire to impose a wall-to-wall way of doing things. , without their consent.

There are 72 service centers and school boards and possibly 72 ways of doing things, recalls Carl Ouellet.

Wednesday morning, the Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), which represents 40% of teachers, argued that this request risks worsening staff shortage rather than improving it.

The president of the FAE, Mélanie Hubert, notably gave as an example the fact that teachers, currently out of breath, may want to be closer to their homes if such a choice is available in August.

The government just thinks in terms of numbers to show that it is in control of the situation, but that will not solve any problem.

A quote from Mélanie Hubert, president of the FAE

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The FAE has been on an indefinite general strike since last Thursday.

The real psychodrama of back to school is to see that, year after year, the system loses a significant proportion of qualified and competent people because we have not been able to take care of them, declared Ms. Hubert.

Although opening the discussion with the unions is not in itself a bad idea, Nicolas Prévost nuance, he recalls that the context of the staff shortage is not in favor, for the moment, of the Legault government's objective of currently closing the assignments as of June.

If we had lots of people, would a teacher take the chance to refuse a position, maybe not. But at the moment, we are in the midst of a staff shortage. And it is not to our advantage, the school principals, to do the last assignment session in June, because we know that we are going to have holes in fill, explains Mr. Prévost.

The Federation of School Service Centers of Quebec, which represents the employers of teachers, that is to say 61 school service centers, 2 special status school boards and 9 English school boards, indicated that she prefers not to comment on the matter.

We choose to leave room for negotiation and to trust the various parties so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. conditions, indicates its spokesperson, Catherine Roy.

The Treasury Board reiterated in writing to Radio-Canada that the assignment process is an important issue and that the government does not want to relive chaotic school starts.

Quebec says it is convinced that changing the date of assignments now would have a positive impact on the recruitment and retention of teachers, a vision for the moment opposed to that of the unions and ;a majority of school principals to whom Radio-Canada spoke.

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