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[Opinion] We must improve the working conditions of education workers

[Opinion] We must improve the working conditions of education workers

The problems with Quebec’s education system are many, and we know that. But which of them currently most influence our ability as a society to provide our children and our citizens with an education that meets our collective aspirations? Why do some groups of students find themselves without a qualified teacher? Or without a teacher at all? Why do some student groups see teachers change throughout the school year? Why do parents have to go to the private sector to get support services for their children?

The extremely difficult working conditions – scientific research indicates this – led to the flight of more than a quarter of female teachers before they had practiced the profession for five years, or even earlier. Sick leave is increasing and I offer leave before retirement age, decimated by the constant rigors of their working conditions. School service centers are struggling to fill positions of psychologists and daycare technicians. And trends, which became a conveyor belt, began to abandon public schools for the private sector.

The Minister of Education’s actions must urgently improve working conditions for school staff. It goes without saying. However, the fix he proposes is likely to do exactly the opposite.

Indeed, among the characteristics of the work environment that are known to lead to a deterioration in the mental health of employees, absenteeism, their intention to quit, or even professional dropout, we find in particular the lack of recognition, low decision latitude, high psychological demands and the impossibility of Finding meaning in one’s work. Everything indicates that the draft law will exacerbate these psychological and social risks, although in 2021 this government adopted a draft that obliges organizations to prevent these same risks.

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not admitting. The establishment of the National Institute for Excellence in Education (INEE) and the planned mechanisms to guide the continuing education of teachers reflect a flagrant lack of recognition and confidence in the professionalism of teachers and school teams.

Low resolution display line. The establishment of the National Institute of Electricity and Mathematics paves the way for a major encroachment on the professional autonomy of female teachers. By his own admission, the Minister, with the powers conferred on him by this Act, may wish to force the adoption of specific pedagogical practices (recognized as “effective” by NEW) in schools that have success rates that are too low for him.

High psychological demands and nonsense at work. The proposed reform, with a data “dashboard” intended to monitor student progress, would highlight accountability measures already in place for academic success as measured through numerical assessments. However, these actions place undue pressure on teachers, even though they do not control for factors that predict success (social and economic disadvantage or lack of means to do the job, for example). Moreover, reducing their work to such quantitative assessments runs the risk of contributing to the futility of practicing their profession.

In short, while Bill 23, with the creation of INEE, claims to want to put science at the heart of pedagogical and administrative practices in education, it ignores the available scientific knowledge about the effects of the type of measures on which it is based.

We explicitly appeal to parliamentarians: this reform threatens to plunge the education system, which is already seriously weakened, into a state of unprecedented crisis. There is still time to beat this law.

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In this process, in order to base collective decisions on “evidenced data”, we invite Minister Drenville to take advantage of the current negotiations on collective agreements in the education sector in order to improve working conditions for those who work daily to transfer them to our office. Children our culture and knowledge necessary to promote their integrated growth and development of society.

This is the most urgent step that must be taken to address the challenges facing our education system.

* This thesis is supported by 13 professors:

Nancy Guyet, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Education, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières

Mylène Leroux, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Quebec at El Awais

Jessica Riel, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal

Céline Chatigny, Ph.D., emeritus professor, associated with the Department of Specialized Education and Training, University of Quebec in Montreal.

Genevieve Barel-Gingras, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Department of Industrial Relations, University Laval

Frédéric Yvonne, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Management and Foundations of Education, University of Montreal

Marie-France Maranda, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Counseling and Guidance, University Laval

Louise Saint-Arnaud, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Counseling and Guidance, University Laval

Angelo Soares, Emeritus Professor, Department of Organization and Human Resources, Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal

Jean-Noel Grenier, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Department of Industrial Relations, University Laval

Vanessa Remeri, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Specialized Education and Training, University of Quebec in Montreal.

Emmanuel Boarel, PhD Professor, Department of Management and Pedagogy. Faculty of Educational Sciences. University of Montreal

Catherine Le Capitin, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Department of Industrial Relations, University Laval

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