At the dawn of the new school year, there are still 580 teachers missing in Quebec schools. The number of non-legally qualified teachers could increase further this year in the school network, admits Minister Jean-François Roberge.
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It’s the first day of school today for students from three school service centres. The other little Quebecers will go back to school next week.
But the shortage of teachers will complicate the life of many directions. According to the most recent data from the Ministry of Education dating from Wednesday evening, the school network is still looking for 580 teachers.
“It is a little less than 1% of teachers across Quebec, wishes to specify Minister Roberge, in an interview with our Parliamentary Office. The portrait is similar to last year”. According to figures provided by his firm, there were about 500 missing teachers at this time last year.
Thus, in the majority of cases, a qualified teacher will teach children from the start of the school year. However, it is possible that a substitute or a teacher who has not yet obtained his certificate inherits certain classes. Non-legally qualified teachers could also be more numerous this year due to the labor shortage raging in the education sector.
“It is possible that there will be a little more than last year”, recognizes the Minister of Education. Last spring, 4024 teachers benefited from a tolerance of commitment due to the glaring lack of staff.
ARCHIVE PHOTO, QMI AGENCY
Should we be worried when our child comes across a non-legally qualified teacher? Jean-François Roberge does not want to minimize this situation. “What we want is for everyone to have 100% of the basic training and their teaching certificate from day one, but with the shortage that has built up, (…) we have to fill the positions and train some people as needed with educational advisers, directors and teacher mentors, ”he pleads.
Moratorium on 4-year-old kindergarten excluded
A moratorium on the creation of 4-year-old kindergarten classes is excluded to mitigate the impact of the lack of personnel in the education network.
Quebec has authorized the deployment of 265 new groups for the start of the 2022 school year, fewer than last year, which will bring the number of 4-year-old kindergarten classes to 1,610 across the province.
“We have adjusted in the deployment to do it at the rate at which the network is able to do it, but to stop deploying 4-year-old kindergarten classes is to deny young people the services they need, to deny parents also the services they want for their children”.
The Minister of Education agrees that the network has had “difficult years”, but he anticipates an upturn.
ARCHIVE PHOTO, QMI AGENCY
An increase in teacher compensation was granted during the last collective agreement, increasing the entry salary from $45,000 to $53,000 and the top of the scale from $80,000 to $92,000. Access to the profession has been facilitated thanks to the qualifying master’s degree for people who wish to reorient their careers and more special classes have been deployed for young people with specific needs, underlines Mr. Roberge.
“It’s like we had a perfect storm, with negligence from previous governments, the pandemic which has exacerbated tensions. Now is the time to see that we have better years ahead of us in education,” he said.