Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quebec's Educational Conundrum

Quebec is currently facing a shortage of teachers. For instance, a science teacher in High school can hardly be found that Quebeckers schools hired 142 teachers last year. These 142 science teachers didn't even have a teaching licence.

Talk about so much open-mindedness from Quebec's educational system! If you're not qualified to teach any given subject, maybe you'll be hired if you studied in a Quebecker university. Unfortunately, many people don't notice Quebec's lack of open-mindedness towards qualified immigrants when it comes to granting teaching licence.

For instance, this is what Bernard Tremblay, the director of working relations from the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ) said:"I've always had the feeling that [Quebec's] ministry of Education had an approach that is opened enough. We don't believe that the ministry of Education's attitude restrict the access to teaching for qualified people."

Despite the few improvement that we've seen in the past years, Tremblay's comment definitely falls apart. Either Tremblay is a total idiot or just someone who spills out a speech that was all made up beforehand. In fact, the Centre d'appui aux communautés immigrantes welcomes on a daily basis many immigrant teachers who face difficulty to obtain the provincial teaching licence, according to its director Anait Aleksanian.

Secondly, the ministries of Immigration and Education recognize the legitimacy of most immigrant teachers' diploma and qualification at a certain extent. Still, many of these people can't get a licence because according to the rules of Quebec's ministry of Education, virtually all immigrant teachers 1) never went through a "psychological and pedagogical training program" (in French: formation psychopédagogique) containing at least 30 units (450 hours) and 2) never studied in Quebec's universities.

A "psychological and pedagogical training program" contains classes of psychology, didactics and class management, for instance. Furthermore, a note in the section 1.4 of the rules published by the ministry of Education says that "teaching experience, no matter how vast it is, can't replace the psychological and pedagogical training."

Now, that's a hell of a good joke!

If you come from a foreign country and that you have 10 years of teaching experience under your belt, you can't even get your licence under Quebec's pathetic standards. Besides having to go through a "psychological and pedagogical training", immigrants teachers must also study 4 years in a Quebecker university to get their B.A. in Education.

Evidently, immigrants should adapt themselves to our standards, but what's the point to ask them to study for an extra 4 years something that they already studied in their homeland? Is Quebec averring that immigrant teachers will never adapt themselves to our standards unless they take a mandatory 4 years trip in any of our given universities?

No wonder why many immigrant teachers (and also some Quebecker students) prefer to go in a university located in Ontario to get a certificate in Education that only requires 1 year of studies!

Obviously, the most shocking truth is rooted in the statistics. While the government of Ontario issued teaching licences to 3626 immigrant teachers out of 4000 in 2006, Quebec's government only issued its licences to 428 immigrant teachers out of 951.

Quebec's stats are so low because most immigrants teachers either decide to study in another field of knowledge, turn themselves to another job or go in Ontario in order to get their teaching licence. We can really wonder if our province has the morbid ambition to have a shortage of teachers.

Remember that trade unionist Gérald Larose once affirmed that "a society's future lies [in what we have] between our ears." Unfortunately, how can that thing located between the ears of each of our children be fed if we stick to our pathetic standards? It would take another column to say why Quebec should take Ontario's educational standards as an example, despite their flaws.

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