Principle of free education: challenging the future of the public school system
30 Nov, 2017, 13:15 ET
The Minister of Education must launch a substantive debate on free education
MONTREAL, Nov. 30, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - In a show of solidarity, the five school boards on the Island of Montreal, both French and English, have come together today to voice their concerns regarding an untenable situation which jeopardizes the future of public schools and the students' equal opportunity to succeed. Together, they demand a substantive debate on the scope of free education in Quebec society.
According to their management, it is imperative to put the students' needs back at the heart of the debate to facilitate their success in a vibrant and stimulating public school environment which reflects today's society.
Free education as defined by the Education Act is at the core of the problem. It stipulates that education services, textbooks and instructional material must be free, except for some categories of material and supplies which are not bound by this principle.
The Education Act has been amended on several occasions since it was enacted but the sections pertaining to the fees that can be charged have remained unchanged. Therefore, the current framework does not reflect today's reality in our schools where various programs, field trips and enrichment activities are offered to meet students' needs, and are requested and much appreciated by parents. Furthermore, the Education Act does not take into account the new technologies which have revolutionized the ways of doing things in the classroom as well as the material used by students.
"We must take action. The government must acknowledge that Quebec has changed since the Education Act was first adopted, stated Diane Lamarche-Venne, president of the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys. The free education reform is an issue of concern to society as a whole and the legislation must be reviewed in order to allow public schools to fulfill their mission. That is precisely what the Minister seems to refuse to do right now."
"Montreal's reality makes it even more challenging, said Angela Mancini, president of the English-Montreal School Board. The socio-economic disparities are major. The city is faced with both a high poverty rate and some very privileged areas, the greatest proportion of newcomers and a large number of private schools, making the current challenges even greater in Montreal."
The five school boards on the Island of Montreal are: Commission scolaire de Montréal, Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île, Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, English Montreal School Board and Lester B. Pearson School Board.
SOURCE Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île
For further information: or to arrange an interview: Mylène Demers, Senior Consultant, CASACOM, 514-261-5840, [email protected]
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