All Posts Tagged With: "cegep"
Votes piling up to end strikes
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press
The number of students on strike in Quebec dwindled considerably Monday as people at several colleges voted to end a civil-disobedience campaign that had earned international attention and been nicknamed the Maple Spring.
Following three more votes Monday to end the strike and one vote in favour of continuing student protests, the tally now stands at six to two among junior colleges, called CEGEPs in Quebec, in favour of returning to class.
The protests are not quite over. Some university faculties will remain on strike after votes in favour of continuing demonstrations. Some CEGEPs and university students have yet to vote.
Quebec ministers signal tougher stance on protests
There may be more scenes like yesterday’s clash at Collège Lionel-Groulx after Quebec’s cabinet ministers started using tougher language to address the 14-week student protest that has hurt the province’s economy and blocked many students from classes despite their legal right to attend.
At the Montreal-area CEGEP, police enforced an injunction on Tuesday that allows 53 students to return to school. They removed students, parents and teachers who were determined to prevent classes from being held until the government backs down on planned tuition increases. Tear gas was released and five people were arrested—only to have the classes cancelled again until Friday.
Jean Charest’s cabinet is meeting today to decide its next move, after students reneged on an agreement signed on May 5 by student leaders that would have seen them return to classes.
Ahead of those meetings, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand told The Globe and Mail that he believes “enough is enough. ” He said that disruptions to the economy—which have included a shut-down subway system, blocked bridges and riots in Montreal’s shopping district—”have nothing to do with tuition,” and are being committed “by groups of anti-capitalists and Marxists.”
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier warned about the many ignored injunctions: “What we are witnessing is the disrespect of the law, the disrespect of court rulings, the disrespect of the police and we are even witnessing the disrespect of the criminal code.”
Student groups reject gov’t offers as deadline approaches
The student strike in Quebec, ignited by a $1,625 tuition increase over the next five years, is now the longest in provincial history—and participants may soon pass a point of no return.
Professors’ contracts require the semester to end by June 15 and some universities are hinting that the entire semester will be in jeopardy for students who don’t go back in time to meet that deadline.
The Université de Montréal, Quebec’s largest, announced Wednesday that it will extend the term into May for students who have already returned to class.
At the same time, it said it can no longer guarantee students who haven’t returned that they will be able to finish their semesters. Groups representing around 25 per cent of U de M are still on strike.
Thousands of students on strike
Montreal police arrested 37 protesters early Friday morning after they broke into and vandalized a college, the CEGEP du Vieux-Montréal.
“These people may face charges of mischief, assault, and armed aggression against a police officer,” Montreal police spokesperson Daniel Lacoursière told CBC News.
The late-night vandalism came after four arrests and the release of pepper spray on Thursday as protesters blocked access to the Montreal stock exchange and a nearby hotel, reports 680 News.
Thousands of post-secondary students are striking in Quebec. They’re skipping classes in order to protest a tuition hike of $1,625 over five years that begins this fall.
Anglo students must not consider Bill 101 when writing test
Historians are calling on Quebec to offer better questions on the History and Citizenship exams that Anglophone students must pass in order to graduate from CEGEP.
Sam Allison, a recently-retired history teacher, and Jon Bradley, an associate professor in Education at McGill University suggested in an editorial in the Montreal Gazette earlier this week that the test is extremely flawed. Here’s their argument:
First, English students are asked to use French-language documents to answer essay questions. What if they don’t read French?
Second, they’re asked to respond to questions with words that don’t translate into English like agriculturalism and cooperatism. Those words mean nothing to anglophones.
Finally, in one essay question, they are asked to consider the demographic changes that occurred in the twentieth century “in terms of immigration, migration within Quebec and natural growth.”
That means students are not to consider inter-provincial migration, which means that they are not to consider the effects of Bill 101, also known as the Charter of the French Language.
That bill had, arguably, a much greater impact on the province than other forms of migration. Bill 101 made French the only official language and put many restrictions on English-language schools and employment. Roughly 244,000 English speakers left Quebec in the 25 years following the passage of Bill 101, according to Statistics Canada. Many businesses moved to Toronto.
It’s an part of the province’s history that should not be ignored, write Allison and Bradley. “While many Quebecers may believe that studies of the province’s history should promote a nationalist perspective, this is far outweighed by the right of all children to have a balanced view of our past.”
Parents call province to lift enrolment caps
The parents committee for Quebec’s Lester B. Pearson School Board, is requesting the Quebec government lift enrolment caps on CEGEP’s. “There are still students with good marks who can’t get in,” Laura Derry, chair of the committee, told the Montreal Gazette. “Kids who don’t get into CEGEP can end up working at fast-food restaurants.” In Quebec, students complete high school after grade 11, after which they attend the junior colleges in preparation for university. Last year the province provided one-time funding to abate a space crunch, but parents are worried that unless enrolment caps are lifted the problem will continue to persist. In a letter addressed to education minister, Line Beauchamp, Derry wrote: “It is imperative that there are an adequate number of spaces to accommodate all students applying to CEGEPs, so that all qualified students have access.”
Extra year could help relieve overcrowding in CEGEP system
To help relieve chronic overcrowding in Quebec’s CEGEP system, a Montreal school board wants to offer grade 12. In Quebec, students graduate high school after grade 11, and those hoping to pursue post-secondary education attend two years of CEGEP, roughly equivalent to the final year of high school and the first year of university. However, due to increased demand, many students were denied spots last year, and the province provided a $1 million in bridge funding to help make room for more students.
Lester B. Pearson School Board, which currently provides grade 12 for international students, wants to offer at least one other grade 12 program. “With so many children unable to get into an English CEGEP, there could be a real need for this,” board chair Marcus Tabachnick told the Montreal Gazette.
While Quebec universities admit out-of-province and international students with grade 12 directly into university, it remains unclear if the same rules would apply to Quebec residents. Because the school board has no mandate to offer grade 12, there likely would be no public funding, meaning students would have to pay for the extra year.
Quebec teachers’ union says English CEGEPs are having a ‘negative’ impact on French
Despite laws that require non-anglophones to attend French primary and secondary schools, an increasing number of students in Quebec are pursuing post-secondary education in English.
A Quebec teachers’ union commissioned a study to investigate this “worrisome” situation. The results of the study, which were released Thursday, indicate that most students who attend English CEGEP (a two- or three-year program that’s the Quebec equivalent of junior college) are planning on continuing their education in English or working in English.
Although only the children of parents who studied English in Canada are permitted a primary and secondary education in English, after high school students can attend school in any language they want. Faced with this choice, many Quebec students are turning towards English, supposedly with the motivation of becoming perfectly bilingual.
The study concludes that “In light of the results presented in this report, it appears clear that the linguistic impact of English CEGEPs is having negative repercussions on the objective of making French the common language in Quebec society.”
Why Quebec’s low tuition hasn’t led to high university enrolment
By 2012 between 6,000 and 13,000 Quebecers will have been prevented from going to university by a $500 increase in tuition, according to one of the province’s largest student lobby groups (their numbers come from a survey commissioned by the Quebec government). But a closer look at university participation rates and tuition fees across the country shows that the relationship between the cost of a university education and the percentage of people who attend isn’t quite so cut and dry.
Last Thursday, over 300 students, mostly from the Université du Québec à Montréal, protested a series of consultations which are set to take place between the provincial government and “education partners,” including students. The protest was organized by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale, which represents over 40,000 students across the province.
These students are opposed to the consultation process because the government has already announced their intention to raise tuition in 2012. Tuition rates in the province have been increasing by $50 per semester for Quebec residents, and $100 per semester for out of province students, since 2007 when the Charest government partially thawed the province’s tuition freeze, in place since 1994. In total tuition has risen $500 over five years for Quebec residents and $1,000 for out-of-province students. While this protest was relatively small compared to the protests in 2007, it’s pretty safe to say that these protests will grow as the 2012 increase approaches.
Here in Quebec, which has Canada’s lowest tuition rates (at least for Quebec residents) the participation rate is also one of the lowest in the country. According to 2005 numbers from Statistics Canada, the most recent complete numbers available, among people aged 24-26, 38 per cent have attended university.
Newfoundland has slightly higher tuition than Quebec but that province’s participation rate — the highest in the country — is 10 per cent higher than Quebec’s.
Nova Scotia, where university enrolment increased by over three per cent this fall (according to the Association of Atlantic Universities), has the second highest participation rate in the country despite their tuition being the second highest. Ontario, which has the highest tuition fees among the provinces, has a higher participation rate than Quebec and despite large tuition increases over the past several years, Ontario universities had a record number of applications this year.
In Alberta, where tuition rates are comparable to the national average, participation is the lowest.
It seems that provincial economies and the demands of the job market have far more to do with participation rates than tuition fees. In Atlantic Canada, with the decline of the fishery and mining sectors and in Ontario, with the decline of the manufacturing sector, jobs that existed a generation ago — and didn’t require a university education — are gone. While in Alberta the oil industry is still going strong.
The counter-intuitive difference between participation rates in Quebec and provinces where tuition is much higher may also have to do with the unique nature of Quebec’s education system. Quebec students graduate from high school in grade 11 and must attend two years of CEGEP (or go to a private college) before attending university. The CEGEP/college system has a participation rate of over 60 per cent — giving Quebec the highest college participation rate in the country.
While the system was created to encourage university participation it may be having the opposite effect, with CEGEPs also offering three-year technical degrees, it is more appealing for some students to do one more year of CEGEP and graduate with a skilled trade rather than going to university, and with the cost at CEGEPs being slightly over $100 per semester it’s certainly the cheapest and fastest way to get into the workforce.
Athletic students say fitness test violates their Charter rights
Two siblings are suing their college because the two apparently athletic students failed a fitness test that kept them from graduating. Florence Dallaire-Turmel and her brother Olivier are seeking $25,000 each in damages from CEGEP de Lévis-Lauzon alleging the test is “abusive” and that it violates their Charter rights. Florence, who is a former gymnast, plays hockey and works out regularly, while Olivier cycles and plays hockey and tennis
The test, introduced in 2,000, counts towards 50 per cent of a students’ physical education credit, and requires students to walk up and down a couple steps at increasing speeds. A students heart rate is measured at different intervals. The goal of the test, according to a CEGEP spokeswomen, quoted in the Globe and Mail, is to give students a “healthy mind in a healthy body.”
After both Florence and Olivier failed the test the first time, they were given the chance to take it a second time, which they also failed. In Quebec, earning a CEGEP diploma is a prerequisite for being admitted to university. However, Florence was accepted to Laval on the provision that her diploma would be forthcoming. Her brother was permitted to take some university courses at Laval this past year.
The two are being represented by their father, Simon Turmel who is a lawyer and political aid with the provincial government. Turmel has told various media outlets that the test doesn`t take into account external factors, such as the fact that his son is mildly asthmatic. His daughter said on Canada AM that she has a heart rate that is naturally higher than others.
According to the lawsuit, the test is “illegal, abusive, arbitrary[and] unreasonable.” The college has so far stood by its fitness requirements.