MONTREAL, April 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The founders of the Coalition for the
Future of Québec, François Legault and Charles Sirois, along with
Chantal Longpré, presented a position paper today containing the
Coalition's proposals in the field of education. Coalition members are
hoping the province of Québec will be endowed with one of the best
education systems in the world by 2020. The ideas expressed in the
Coalition's discussion paper will serve to initiate a dialogue with
Quebecers on the subject of education. Following its series of
discussions with the population, the Coalition plans to submit an
action plan by the end of the year summarizing the measures that need
to be undertaken to get Québec moving forward.
"We can be justifiably proud of our education system, which over the
course of a few decades has raised its performance to that of the
average of developed countries," stated Mr. Legault. "But we still have
a significant gap to close to be up there with the leaders.
Consequently, a new wave of changes is required to make our education
system one of the best in the world by 2020."
"We are putting forth ideas which strive to improve the results and the
efficiency of the public education system," remarked Mr. Sirois. "To do
this, we need to bring the citizens' decision-making centres closer
together and valorize the efforts of the men and women that work in the
field of education."
The Coalition's proposals centre around three major initiatives which
will enable the education system to further excel.
Initiative 1: A new contract with the teachers
The Coalition is proposing an average pay raise of about 20% for
elementary and high-school teachers, along with more classroom
autonomy. The selection and training of teachers and school
administrators would be more rigorous, and graduates of university
faculties other than education would be able to enter into the teaching
field easier. Meanwhile, teachers would be evaluated twice a year by
school administrators. The evaluation would focus on many criteria,
including student achievement.
Initiative 2: More autonomy for teachers and school administrators
The Coalition proposes amalgamating the 69 school boards and Ministry of
Education regional offices so that there would only be 39 regional
offices with clearly defined responsibilities. School board elections
and school commissioner posts would be abolished. The bulk of the
school board responsibilities (human resources, educational, equipment
and computer operations) would be eliminated or transferred to the
schools. Parents would have a bigger role in the education system, so
we are proposing that there be an increase in the number of parents on
Initiative 3: More college and university graduates
The Coalition is proposing that Cégeps and universities commit to using
their public funding to improve their performance by focusing less on
bureaucracy and more on their service offering to students. It is also
proposed that universities be encouraged to combine their efforts to
develop areas of learning and research that are international in scope;
this could be done by allowing universities to adjust their tuition
fees for certain programs.
These three initiatives would be implemented over a four-year period,
and the cost, at the end of the four years, would be $950 million a
year. These investments would be funded by the savings related to the
restructuring of school boards, the freezing of funding to private
schools, the closing of the Université du Québec's head office, and
gains in efficiency at Hydro-Québec.
"It's time to act," said Ms. Longpré. "And, it's especially time to have
the courage to put words into action. There is no greater collective
project than enabling our children to succeed, in a school supported by
its community. We need to provide our youngsters with the essential
tools for their well-being and their future, which is also our future."
These proposals are in keeping with the initiative the Coalition
announced last February 21. There are three other position papers to
follow and they will address the subjects of health, economy and
culture. Discussions with the population to bolster the ideas advanced
by the Council are underway, and they will continue over the coming
months, via the website (www.coalitionavenir.org) and in conjunction with events. The initiative will culminate in the
presentation of "An Action Plan for Québec" by the end of the year.
SOURCE Coalition for the future of Quebec
For further information:
| Paul B. Goulet |
| || || Diane Jeannotte |