Quebec begins two-day consultations on education

The Quebec government is holding a two-day education consultation in Quebec City Thursday and Friday.

It focuses on student success and finding ways to increase graduation and to support those with special needs.

READ MORE: ‘Necessary changes’ still to be made to Quebec education reform bill: QESBA

“For us, we want the government to take into account that we are different. One size does not fit all,” said Stephen Burke, an executive member of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).

READ MORE: Quebec government needs to intervene to increase graduation rate: expert

After battling the government’s controversial school board reforms – that were eventually dropped – English school boards want to make it clear they need to be consulted.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard makes opening remarks at a two-day education consultation, welcoming stakeholders to help draft a new education strategy, Thursday, December 1, 2016.

Raquel Fletcher/Global News

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    Burke said the nine English school boards cater to 100,000 students, are spread out across the province and have many different needs.

    “We’re saying, ‘please don’t forget us because our day-to-day life is different from that of the French school boards,’” he said.

    READ MORE: Opposition parties criticize Quebec Liberals for backtracking on education reform

    On Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the opening remarks at the consultations, welcoming stakeholders to help draft a new education strategy.

    “We’ve already announced, and it’s being deployed as we speak, $1.3 billion over three years, for close to 800 personnel in our schools. That is very substantial,” Couillard said.

    However, he was vague about what his top priorities would be going forward.

    READ MORE: Premier calls for French schools in Quebec to follow English lead

    “They vote for a law, then they have a consultation and who knows where they’ll go in 2017,” said Jean-François Roberge, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) education critic.

    The Parti Québécois (PQ) insisted the government is not acting fast enough to standardize professional services.

    READ MORE: QESBA pleased with Quebec’s new education minister

    “In Abitibi-Témiscamingue, there are two psychologists for 7,000 students. It almost means there are no services,” said Alexandre Cloutier, PQ education critic.

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