MONTREAL, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Directors General of the 12
Montreal-area CEGEPs that comprise the Regroupement des collèges du
Montréal Métropolitain (RCMM) wish to express their deep concern about
the consequences resulting from additional budgetary compressions
proposed by the Treasury Board. Such cuts would seriously compromise
the quality of services offered to students as well as have a negative
impact on educational institutions' ability to adequately respond to
the needs of the greater metropolitan community.
"The challenges for Montreal CEGEPs are numerous and well-documented,"
said Richard Filion, RCMM Chairperson and the Director General of
Dawson College. "Among the challenges we have faced in the past few
years: the training of future employees to fill the growing need for
skilled labour, student success and perseverance, integration of
immigrants into the economy of the city and the province, growing
productivity in increasingly globalized and competitive markets,
re-training and certification of adults in economic sectors in high
demand; the waves of budgetary cuts that have been forced upon
educational networks seriously hamper our action plans and thwart the
collective efforts we are trying to make to offset a precarious
Montreal CEGEPs, along with their counterparts throughout the college
network, are being subjected to a second round of budgetary
compressions in the amount of $30 million, this in addition to the
amount that was imposed last May during the annual budget allocation by
the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS). Ministry
officials had decreed that these successive cuts should not in any way
affect services offered to students.
"This approach is inopportune," Mr. Filion said. "For colleges to make
these cuts, it would be impossible not to affect services to students.
It is regrettable that the Quebec government is holding so steadfastly
to its deadline of 2013-2014 to balance the budget that it is exerting
undue pressure on public services and compromises the government's
ability to provide adequate resources to support the two chief
priorities it has stated in recent years: health and education."
The idea that these budgetary compressions may be achieved by tapping
into college surpluses is unrealistic; the majority of educational
institutions that have a surplus have earmarked these funds to maintain
and enhance services to students.
"Each Director General of a CEGEP looks to these funds to plan ahead in
responding to future needs," Mr. Filion said. "It is our mandate as
responsible and prudent administrators to guard against unexpected
events and to prepare the ground by determining how best to deal with
"Each college in the RCMM could cite a number of examples to show how
surpluses are being used, rationally and responsibly, to improve the
quality of services offered to students, whether it is for the purchase
of specialty equipment in a program, the modernization of a science
laboratory, the bringing to standard for health and safety on equipment
available to students, the renovation of sanitary facilities, the
restoration of a swimming pool, etc."
These cuts are being imposed just as the need for qualified training at
the CEGEP level is gaining ground. "These cuts are taking place as
student populations in Montreal CEGEPs are reaching their peak," said
Paul-Émile Bourque, the Director General of Cégep Saint-Laurent.
"What's more, the increase in students from diverse ethnic backgrounds
and the growing proportion of students with learning disabilities pose
daily challenges that require even more resources".
"We are disconcerted by the approach recommended by the Treasury Board
and by the Premier of Quebec, who stated just last February in his
inaugural address to the National Assembly that education was his top
priority," Mr. Filion continued.
"We are well aware of the present economic situation, and we do not aim
to undermine recovery. We are simply asking the Quebec government not
to clip the wings of a college network that is so vital in meeting the
challenges this economic recovery presents and in contributing to the
prosperity of the city and the province."
The Regroupement des collèges du Montréal métropolitain (RCMM) is the
organization that regroups the 12 Montreal island CEGEPS for the
purpose of representation, alliance and planning of college education.
The RCMM is the body through which Montreal island colleges ensure that
they receive the best response to their needs and that their concerns
are addressed in the context of their role within the Montreal region
in the area of student success for the young and not-so-young, quality
of training for the workforce and integration of immigrants.
SOURCE Regroupement des collèges du Montréal Métropolitain (RCMM)
For further information:
Dominique Rouette, RCMM