Belated Saint Valentine’s Day Messages for the Ministers of Education, for Education, and of Higher Education of Québec
“The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply what other generations have done.” - Jean Piaget
I have gathered this wish list from amongst the Saint Valentine’s Day cards that students in our schools – at the elementary, secondary, C. E. G. E. P., and university levels - would like to send to you, if only they knew who you were, and how to deliver their wishes to you.
On graduation from Secondary V, every student in this province would love to be bilingual and bicultural with a balanced view of history, the necessary knowledge in mathematics, science, and technologies, and the critical thinking skills necessary to be an involved member of the society of the 21st century.
How can we accomplish this linguistic-cultural dream? You already have the means within the present system to put in place what would be the envy of every other educational jurisdiction.
In every elementary school across the province, starting in Elementary Cycle III Year I, (Grade 5), half the classes have instruction in French, the other half in English, in all subjects for five straight months. Francophone teachers teaching in French, and Anglophone teachers teaching in English. Teachers swap classes for the last five months of the school year. This also continues through Elementary Cycle III, Year 2, (Grade 6).
We should also promote la culture Québécoise by making available grants for cultural outings in the language of instruction. It is the ideal opportunity to showcase our talented Québécois artists – both Francophone and Anglophone – in the fields of song, music, dance, theatre, comedy, crafts, and related disciplines.
It is time, Ministers, to raise the age for compulsory education to eighteen years of age. It will allow our graduating students to be on an equal footing with those of surrounding educational jurisdictions. It will be necessary to expand the quality and offering of technical vocational programs at the senior secondary and collegial levels of instruction across the province.
How are we going to solve the shortage of qualified teachers in our classrooms? Firstly, improve the working conditions of the teachers. Secondly, ensure teachers receive fair salaries that are not near the bottom of the provincial and territorial averages. Thirdly, install a meaningful system of consultation that actually provides for meeting with teachers and discussing and debating the important issues underlying the principles of what is actually taught to students. Fourthly, allow for a Québec College of Teachers. Fifthly, finance more spaces in the Bachelor of Education degree programs in all Québec faculties of education. Sixthly, return the one-year pedagogical diploma for holders of Bachelor degrees of teachable subjects for pre-school, elementary, secondary, and C.E.G.E.P. teachers as well as university professors to the faculties of education.
Tackle the issue of bullying and violence in our educational institutions head on. Put in place the financial resources necessary to hire more professional personnel to address the issues and provide the necessary follow-up.
Provide additional adequate financial resources to hire more professional employees to reduce the time of delivery from the initial diagnosis to the delivery of services to students with learning disabilities.
AND finally seek more input from student representatives at the senior secondary, C. E. G. E. P., and university levels. On the boards of directors of the educational institutions, school service centres, and school boards, ensure seats for elected student representatives with full voting rights and the privileges of proposing and seconding motions and engaging in meaningful participation in discussions and debates.
Monsieur Roberge, Madame Charest, and Madame McCann: please take the above suggestions under advisement, and consider implementing them as early as possible for an improved system of education for the students of Québec.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandela