September 25, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Confrontation between Minister Roberge and a panel of education experts

Credibility of Quebec teacher training programs put to the test: Education Minister Jean-François Roberge and a panel of experts denounce political interference in a battle aimed at training teachers at full speed to address staffing shortages in schools.

Minister Roberge has in recent months approved four short training programs for future teachers without waiting for the expert panel’s opinion – or even against this panel’s unfavorable opinion, in one of these cases. Mr. Roberge justified these decisions by the urgency to act to prevent classes from finding themselves without teachers.

Following this, the term of Marc-André Éthier, a professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Montreal, chair of the Committee for the Accreditation of Teacher Training Programs (CAPFE), ended last June.

The clash between the minister and the panel of experts sparked heated debates in the teaching community, which feared that future teachers would not be given “adequate” training. CAPFE’s top member, Professor Jean Bernadettes of the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR), has decided not to renew his mandate within the group until August 22.

according to what Duty In the absence of a firm explanation from Minister Roberge, other members are mulling their exit. The committee suspended its work in June due to a tense situation with the education minister.

“We’re a bit bewildered by this whole story,” sums up CAPFE’s vice president, Lillian Bingley. In a letter to Minister Roberge on August 4, he denounced “a long list of decisions that undermine CAPFE’s credibility, harm its work and slow down university programs related to the development and improvement of teacher training.” .

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Mme Bingley argues that the committee “goes about its work in a rigorous, conscientious, impartial manner and with the sole concern of ensuring that all accredited programs are of quality, which is an essential condition for the advancement of the teaching profession.”

For these reasons, CAPFE issued an unfavorable opinion in February 2021 on the establishment of a qualifying master’s degree in preschool and elementary education at the University of Montreal. The program was considered valid, but CAPFE identified deficiencies that needed to be corrected.

Program Adjustment

Nevertheless, Minister Roberge authorized the 60-credit program – equivalent to half of a four-year undergraduate education – citing a shortage of teachers.

There is a teacher shortage here! We don’t live in a theoretical world. In the real world, we need qualified teachers in our classrooms, and I look to our universities to qualify them. I believe in our university network.

He asked UdeM to adjust the program in response to CAPFE’s concerns. “We said: OK, let’s recognize it as qualified training by giving the university the obligation to make the necessary corrections,” Minister Roberge argued in an interview. Duty At the end of June.

“We have a teacher shortage there! We don’t live in a theoretical world. In the real world, we need qualified teachers in our classrooms, and I look to our universities to qualify them. I believe in our university network. We prefer applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree and those pursuing a graduate degree. It’s nothing: we’re talking about a master’s degree in teaching. “The vast majority of teachers will always do a four-year bachelor’s degree, but to increase the means of access without reducing the requirements seems to me to be welcome in times of scarcity,” he added.

Similarly, the Minister of Education earlier this year approved the introduction of qualified master’s degrees in teaching at TELUQ and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) without even waiting for CAPFE.

“Unless we consider what we are doing, if our critical and analytical vision is not required, we will do something else. This greatly undermines those who invest on a voluntary basis,” he said. want Professor Jean Bernadches has resigned from CAPFE.

Credibility is questionable

Deans of education faculties are also concerned about the tensions surrounding CAPFE, which according to them, “compromises the credibility of the process” of accreditation of teacher training programmes. “It’s legal [d’ignorer les recommandations du CAPFE]But this is the first time a minister has done this since CAPFE was founded in 1992,” said Jean Bélanger, president of the Association of Deans, Deans and Directors, Directors of Studies and Research in Education in Quebec (ADEREQ).

“We are deeply concerned about the current situation because the accreditation process is a key foundation for ensuring the quality of current and future projects and their credibility with both the community and the population,” he wrote in a letter dated July 5. Minister addressed Roberge. Deans have requested to meet the minister to resolve this deadlock.

Jean Bélanger considers CAPFE’s independent work “necessary”, even if sometimes the deans of academic faculties find the revisions requested by the panel of experts “irritating”.

CAPFE Vice-President Liliane Binggeli has called for Marc-Andre Ethier to be reinstated as committee chair because of “the quality of his work” and his desire to continue. He also seeks two legal opinions from the Minister of Education, particularly on the length of tenure of members.

“The renewal process for CAPFE’s leadership position is underway,” pointed out Audrey Noysaks, press secretary to the Minister of Education.

Mr. who came to CAPFE in 2018. Mr. Éthier said he could not renew his tenure. Roberge said, but the committee’s experts found the example of former member Andre Dolbeck, who served seven years at CAPFE. two to three year periods).

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