Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Universities are uncomfortable with the decision to secretly amend Bill 23 in order to grant probationary permits to teachers from programs that have, however, never been properly evaluated.

Short teaching programs: Did Quebec act too hastily?

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Several short training programs aimed at non-legally qualified teachers have emerged at universities in recent months.

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“It’s incomprehensible and very frustrating,” says Julie Desjardins, president of the Association of Deans and Directors for Study and Research in Education in Quebec (ADÉREQ).

Like other actors in the academic community, she learned with surprise of the introduction of a last minute amendment to Bill 23 – the Drainville reform on education governance – at the end of November, during its detailed study in parliamentary committee.

The amendment in question, which is part of the law as adopted in December, makes it possible to add to the Regulations on teaching authorizations a series of new short 30-credit programs, created by three universities, TELUQ, the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and the University of Quebec in Montreal, to quickly qualify untrained teachers who already work with students.

This government intervention ensures that graduates of these new programs will be able to obtain a probationary teaching permit, then the teaching certificate at the end of an internship.

Until now, students have enrolled in these programs without the assurance that they would lead to a formal qualification.

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Since this amendment appeared late in the legislative process, it was impossible for stakeholders in the education and higher education sector to comment on it in their briefs submitted earlier to the summer.

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Julie Desjardins is president of the Association of Deans and Directors for Study and Research in Education in Quebec.

The process is questionable to say the least. When you add something so substantial at the very end, without stakeholders in the education sector being able to react, it is extremely disappointing.

A quote from Julie Desjardins, president of the Association of Deans and directors for study and research in education in Quebec

This is also the opinion of Ruba Ghazal and Marwah Rizqy, the solidarity and liberal spokespersons who were present during the tabling of this controversial amendment. They both tried to make changes to this amendment, without success.

I think we are opening a Pandora's box, said Ms. Rizqy, who proposed that the amendment be adopted by regulation and not through Bill 23 to allow for consultation. Because there, this amendment arrives like a hair in the soup.

Where the problem lies is that these programs have never been properly evaluated, as is the usual practice, before be officially recognized by the government through legislation.

I find it worrying that politicians decide on programs for teacher training without taking into account the opinions of experts. I'm afraid that we're creating problems for the future.

A quote from Ruba Ghazal, MP and education spokesperson for Québec solidaire

Since the beginning of the 2000s, teacher training programs had to undergo evaluation by the CAPFE, the Committee for the Accreditation of Teacher Training Programs, even before the Minister of Education could make a decision. their subject.

The committee was, however, rendered non-operational for many months following an internal crisis caused by the former minister of Education Jean-François Roberge and which resulted in the wholesale resignation of its members.

Minister Drainville finally appointed, last December, new members to sit on the CAPFE. The latter has just resumed its work, assures the office of the Minister of Education.

For Julie Desjardins, things should have been done in order, that is to say, waiting for the CAPFE to resume its work and for it to decide on the quality of the training offered by the new short programs before officially recognize them as leading to the teaching certificate.

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Quebec solidaire MP Ruba Ghazal answers questions from the media during a press conference.

If we want to resolve [the labor problem #x27;current work], we cannot do it by shouting scissors and ignoring all the mechanisms that exist, adds solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal.

On several occasions, Minister Drainville has justified this approach by the fact that students from these new programs are already in classes and that we cannot afford to lose a single one due to the shortage of students. teachers.

But for Ruba Ghazal, we work in reverse. And if we don't do things well now, these teachers will perhaps leave [the education network] afterwards.

< strong>Programs included in the amendment and registrations

Currently, more than 400 students are registered in the new specialized higher education diplomas (DESS) at TÉLUQ University and around sixty are registered in the two new DESS from UQAT. Around ten students are participating in the UQAM DESS pilot project, which plans to officially start next fall with around fifty registrations.

Our program was added to the government amendment list even though it had not yet been adopted by the university! Jean Bélanger, the dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at UQAM, is still surprised.

For the record, his team first proposed to the Ministry of Education a 45-credit program for non-legally qualified teachers. The ideal, in my head, was 45 credits over three years. But the ministry told us that it would be better if it were over two years and 30 credits.

He and his team therefore decided to design a shorter qualifying program, but keeping in mind the idea of ​​later adding a third year of training, to make it more complete.

There is a feeling of urgency at the ministry, which we share, but we would have liked it to happen differently.

A quote from Jean Bélanger, dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at UQAM

He does not disavow his new DESS, far from it, but he ardently wishes that it, finally approved internally at the end of January, be evaluated as quickly as possible by the CAPFE. We are experiencing something. I don't really want to be told that it leads to a patent. My duty is to ensure that the programs I offer are of the highest possible quality and that those who obtain the certificate have the same skills profile, whether they have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree or of DESS.

We had a somewhat mixed reaction, confides Pascal Grégoire, director of the teaching and research unit in educational sciences at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Obviously, this regularizes the situation of our students. So we are happy in some ways. But it’s obvious that we don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the training programs.

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Pascal Grégoire was involved in the development of specialized higher education diplomas ( DESS) intended for non-legally qualified teachers who wished to train and obtain a teaching certificate.

We made a proposal that our team considers credible and solid, but having an external perspective from the education sector is always desirable.

Now that the work of the CAPFE has restarted, he intends to submit files in the coming days and hopes that an evaluation process will be carried out quickly.

He is aware that the government's way of doing things creates unease and causes some to question the legitimacy and quality of their new training.

It's a discomfort that I understand and that I share in certain respects. In the ideal scenario, we would have wanted our program to undergo an examination first and receive accreditation afterwards.

A quote from Pascal Grégoire, director of the science teaching and research unit of Education at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

At TÉLUQ, the discourse is different. Finally! We are relieved, says Lucie Laflamme, general director of the University which offers distance learning.

Innovation is scary. We got out of the box. And it’s certain that, from the outside, it’s easy to say that it’s cheap training. […] But perhaps the skeptics will be confused, as they say, she declares.

She indicates that she has not yet received a signal from the CAPFE to submit an evaluation file. He will definitely watch our programs and, if he has comments to make or adjustments to suggest, we will apply them, she concludes.

All the university representatives consulted, with the exception of the general director of TÉLUQ, criticize the government's decision to bring back the probationary internship formula to its original form, that before the reform of the professionalization of teaching in the years 90.

What bothers them is that this internship of 600 to 900 hours, a mandatory prerequisite for obtaining the teaching certificate, will take place under the responsibility of the employer, the school service center, and not under the aegis of the training university, which already has the expertise and experience to better support students in a work placement.

We are not part of this probationary period and that perplexes us. Universities are not being used as they should be, explains Mr. Grégoire.

A sort of break is created at the end of the program when we would have liked to support our students in their transition to practice and continue to collaborate with educational communities.

A quote from Pascal Grégoire, director of the ;educational sciences teaching and research unit of the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Jean Bélanger from UQAM is in tune. Leaving all the practical training in the middle is dangerous. They currently lack resources. How can they do that, adequately support and evaluate these new teachers?

Ahlem Ammar, dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Montreal, for its part, recalls that in 1990, the Superior Council of Education listed the problems linked to this probationary period: refusal of teachers to participate in the evaluation of their peers, almost total absence of measures of welcoming and supervising new teachers.

How can we expect that a short training followed by a probationary internship whose evaluation may be incomplete will bring results different from those of before the reform of the 90s? Especially in a context where tasks are increasingly complex and expectations are increasingly high! denounces Ahlem Ammar.

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Ahlem Ammar is dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Montreal.

In my opinion, we are in the process of regressing. We are in the process of undoing all the professionalization work that was done through the reform of the 90s.

A quote from Ahlem Ammar, dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Montreal

Dean Ahlem Ammar watched the episode of adding the government's controversial amendment unfold like a helpless spectator.

She is one of those who refuse to open the door to short training courses, preferring to develop what already exists.

It's unfair. We end up with a multi-speed system that leads to the same profession with the same salary conditions, she deplores.

We are all aware that we need to find solutions to the shortage problem. But we must find solutions that do not endanger either student success or the quality of teacher training.

A quote from Ahlem Ammar, dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Montreal

She is particularly worried about qualifying master's degrees, 60-credit programs on which the University of Montreal has focused in recent years.

We are worried about the motivation of our master's students. We hope that they will not desert the program. A program that we built in the light of several consultations, respecting the rules in place, confides Ms. Ammar, before adding: It would really be a loss for all parties concerned and for society.

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