(Quebec) The cuts of$ 45 million imposed on the cégeps in the province for the year 2015-2016 will feel. Whereas the liberal government has pointed out, during the election campaign, want to rely on vocational and technical training courses to prepare young people for the labour market and to meet the needs of labour, the colleges, themselves, are today forced to reduce some of the services available to students to respond to the emaciation of the budget.
“We are in the process of putting in danger the services that are essential for us,” warns the president-director general of the Fédération des cégeps, Bernard Tremblay, in an interview in the offices of the Sun. “While the greater part of the jobs of the future which the province of Quebec is going to need go through the colleges.”
In the last few days, several students have been able to find, despite an increase in their costs, a reduction of service in their school. The opening hours of the libraries in particular have been squeezed. Most junior colleges have had to cut in some services such as the learning assistance in French, English, and mathematics and technical assistance during the practical work.
The Federation of cegeps, deplores the fact that the individual pedagogical assistance (API) has been greatly affected. “The ratio which was [in the spring] 1 1300étudiants is now 1 for 1700 students,” says Mr. Tremblay, adding that 30% of students change of program in the course of the school career, hence the importance of the API.
“We are reducing our advisors academic information or guidance, and it reduces the professionals who are responsible for organizing in-company placements, while the government has made of the adequacy of training-employment its priority, stated M. Tremblay. We have budgets that we are now allocated by the ministry of Employment, and here we are in the process of questioning how you’ll promote these objectives. During this time, we are forced to cut basic services… It is a phenomenon where the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing.”
The president also pointed out that higher administrative costs imposed on students for establishments to cope with the cuts. “The students will see an increase and they’re going to find that there are services in the least, of the platforms of sport are closed at the end of the week, and sports teams have been discontinued”, does it give in the example.
Some cegeps have also been forced to slash social workers, while since 2007 the number of disabled students has been multiplied by eight. In 2007, the college network public consisted of 1303 students in difficulty, in 2014 there were 11337.
Faced with the pressures of the government, the president-director general said that the colleges have little margin of manoeuvre for their cuts. “From the moment it is necessary that you loop your budgets, you look at your list of staff and you wonder who has the job security… Him, I can touch it. That I need it or not, there is a lack 300000$ to 500 000 $… “cut, cut, cut”. Today, we come to the limit. It is a little alarmed.”
Since 2011-2012, the colleges have suffered seven cuts, totaling $ 155 million. According to data provided by the Federation, 178131étudiants are enrolled this fall in one or the other of the 48 public cegeps in Quebec. This number is 0.2% lower than last year. These 178131 students enrolled in the college on regular education, with 46.5% of the pre-university sector, with 46.9% in the technical sector and 6.6% in Springboard DEC (formerly session d’accueil et d’intégration).
For the possibility of strike days in the month of September, Mr. Tremblay would be “very surprised” that the teachers use this option so early in the year.
“I think it is a legitimate trade union organisations have benefited from the back to show their dissatisfaction with the negotiation and show that their personnel are mobilized,” he stressed. In the same breath, we were discussing with the dg of the college and they tell us that the atmosphere is good, as the people participate in the activities. […] It is normal for it to take the time to explain things properly. We have collective agreements that are mature. They have negotiated for nearly 40 years. I am confident that we are capable of find solutions.”
The priorities of the Fédération des cegeps
Cope with budget cuts and claim the funding necessary for the development of the public network. To achieve this, the Federation aims to sensitize the government to the fact that the cuts are jeopardizing the services offered directly to the students and the future development of the cegeps. It also wants to limit the bureaucracy imposed on the colleges, for example, to reduce the time devoted to the issue of accountability.
The matching of training to employment. According to the Federation, 86 % of the projected employment growth of technical level by 2022 will touch the occupations requiring a college education, which is equivalent to approximately 85000 new jobs that will need to be filled by technicians and technologists. The Federation aims to raise awareness of the youth on the importance of technical training. She also wants to increase partnerships with the representatives of the labour market, in particular to increase the supply of courses.
The evaluation of the model college. The Federation wishes to respond to the work of reflection carried out in recent years on the future of cegeps in the framework of the Summit on higher education, the Colloquium on the development of cegeps in the regions and the Construction of the training on offer collegiate (report Demers), in particular to develop a new programmed’internationalisation of education in quebec and to amend the Regulations of the college to adjust locally the programs of the Department to respond more quickly to the needs of businesses and organizations.
Development of research at the college level. To achieve this, the Federation wishes to disseminate advertising messages, to ensure the radiation of the college researchers who will win prizes and raise awareness of the achievements of the college centres for the transfer of technology.
To preserve access to a college education throughout the territory. The Federation wants to especially encourage young people to enroll in programs for which they do not have access in their region by offering financial incentives to facilitate their mobility. It also aims to develop distance learning, training and recruiting massively for international students.