AEFO study on quality of worklife of Franco-Ontarian school personnel - A reality that calls for change



    OTTAWA, March 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Just a few days before its provincial
policy conference, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants
franco-ontariens (AEFO) releases today the findings of a landmark survey on
the quality of life of its 9,000 members working in some 450 schools and
related workplaces throughout Ontario.
    The study paints a picture of a group of dedicated professionals,
attentive to the needs of their students, but nevertheless affected by the
multiplicity of programs in need of full implementation, the difficulty in
balancing work/family life, the lack of resources and workloads considered to
be inequitable or poorly defined. And while relations among the various
individuals involved are generally good, some harassment is present in the
work environment.
    "The survey results are generally consistent with what we're seeing in
the field," states Paul Taillefer, AEFO President. "The situation is less than
ideal but we think the best way to start turning things around is to get a
measurable and accurate picture. This study gives us that."
    "We believe it is critical to take action because the quality of worklife
of school personnel impacts on the student's learning environment. These
findings speak volumes: we must clarify and re-instill value to the work done
in education, take better charge of the work environment and help our members
regain the sense that they are doing something important."
    The survey, commissioned by AEFO, was conducted by researcher Michel
Saint-Germain of the Faculty of Education of the University of Ottawa. It
deals with work conditions, task, relationships among those in the school
setting - parents, students, colleagues and management - and the school
mission.
    "In light of these findings, AEFO has formulated a series of
recommendations to be put to a vote at our policy conference taking place from
March 8 to 11. Our members' response next week will be very important in terms
of how things unfold. We certainly intend to use these data to effect change.
We will be making a priority of working with all our education partners to
improve both the quality of worklife of our members and learning conditions
for students," concludes Paul Taillefer.
    AEFO represents some 9,000 teachers and other educational workers who
work in Ontario=s French-language elementary and secondary schools as well as
workers in other French-language establishments in Ontario.

    Survey highlights: See below

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    Survey highlights

    The survey deals with the perceptions and experiences of two categories
of AEFO members working in some 450 schools and other workplaces in the
province: regular and supply teachers and professional and support staff.
Results are grouped under four headings: task, relations, work-life balance
and school mission.

    
    Task

    - While the majority feel they are doing something important and take
      pride in their work, two thirds (75%) believe that their job is not
      clearly defined.

    - In general, only 38.6% of teaching staff and 46.3% of professional and
      support staff are satisfied with their working conditions
      (#790 and 791).(*)

    - Furthermore, only 41.9% of teaching staff and 21.7% of support staff
      feel they are being paid commensurate with their skills and abilities
      (#510 and 511).

    - Almost half of respondents from both groups believe that flexibility in
      the practice of their profession (independence, creativity, methods) is
      limited.

    - Concerning professional development, only one third of professional and
      support staff and one quarter of regular teaching staff are satisfied
      with the continuing education received (#840, 841, 850 and
      851).

    - Some 40% of teaching staff and 66% of professional and support staff,
      indicate that their access to technological resources (computers,
      Internet access) is not adequate enough for them to do a good job
      (#50, 521, 780 and 781).

    - Over 70% of teaching staff say they must use their own money to pay for
      school-related supplies and expenses (Table 14).

    Relationships

    - The majority of both groups of staff members say they have good
      relations with students, colleagues and parents. The satisfaction rate
      is particularly high (82.4%) when it comes to their relations with
      students (Tables 17 and 18).

    - A large majority report having good relations with colleagues, both on
      a personal or professional level (Table 17).

    - Although the majority of both groups say they maintain good
      relationships and feel supported by administrative and supervisory
      staff (Table 18), a majority points to inequities in the allocation of
      duties (Table 16).

    - There is a desire to develop better relationships with parents
      (Table 18). While staff report that parents do not criticize them
      directly, one third of them suspect that parents complain directly to
      their superior (#1070).

    - Approximately one third of teaching staff (29.8%) and professional and
      support staff (31.8%) has experienced some form of harassment at any
      given time (Table 19). (In this case, harassment is defined as
      inappropriate language or behaviour, public admonishments, or repeated
      and undue pressures of any kind.)

    Work-life balance

    - Half of teaching staff work more than 50 hours a week (Table 23).
    - From the data collected, less than one third (28.1%) of teaching staff
      are satisfied with their work-life balance (#590 and 610).

    - Over half (52%) feel enthusiastic about their job (Table 25).

    - Over half indicate that if the salary were equal, they would change
      jobs given the opportunity (Table 24).

    - The current level of commitment and well-being of staff, as reported in
      this survey, raises questions on the system's ability to retain its
      employees and ensure its stability.

    School mission

    - Approximately 58% of teaching staff and 38% of professional and support
      staff feel their skills and abilities are being used optimally
      (#830 and 831).

    - While 65.7% of teaching staff and 72.7% of support staff indicate that
      it is their perception that they are working in a French-language
      establishment, it is surprising to note that one third of teaching
      staff express hesitation in this regard and that 7.5% of support staff
      completely disagree with this statement (#1240 and 1241).

    These highlights are neither complete nor comprehensive. To access the
statements, questions, tables or complete data, please see the full report
available online at www.aefo.on.ca or contact AEFO at (613) 244-2336 or
1-800-267-4217.

    (*) Numbers correspond to the statements in Appendix A, pages 27 to 33,
        of the report.
    




For further information:

For further information: Comments: Paul R. Taillefer, President, (613)
244-2336, (613) 292-5860 (cell); Communications: Marie-Elisabeth Brunet,
Communications Officer, (613) 244-2336, (613) 850-6410 (cell); Survey report:
Available at www.aefo.on.ca

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Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO)

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