MONTREAL, Feb. 3, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – A survey conducted by CROP in the context of public sector negotiations indicated that a very large majority of the population – 95% of respondents – supports the government using its economic stimulus plan to invest in education to improve learning conditions and services for students.
Such is one of the major findings of the survey conducted at the behest of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) and its school-sector federations: the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ), the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ). and the Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ). The organizations are supported by the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT), which sits at the bargaining table alongside the FSE-CSQ.
Pandemic’s Concerning Impacts on Education
The poll also shows that Quebecers are now more concerned about children’s academic success than they were back in July (July: 66%; December: 73% very, somewhat concerned). In addition, a similar proportion feared the long-term impact of the pandemic on school dropout rates (77%).
A majority of respondents – more than one in two Quebecers – indicated that schools and training centres do not have the appropriate resources to support students who are struggling. A larger majority of respondents reported that the pandemic has highlighted the education system’s lack of staff (84%) and material resources (81%).
Majority Support for Improving Working Conditions
Another consequence of the pandemic: Eighty-three percent of Quebecers believe that it has created a work overload for education personnel and, consequently, working conditions have deteriorated.
In addition, 61% of respondents believe that the labour shortage stems primarily from the poor working conditions. Sixty-three percent of respondents believe that the best solution to address the lack of staff would be to improve working conditions, while 20% would say wages should be increased.
Unfair Treatment for School Support Staff
In closing, nearly two thirds of Quebecers feel that it is somewhat or very unfair that school support staff, who were involved in emergency daycare services during the lockdown, were not paid a wage premium.
“These findings confirm that the working conditions crisis in the education sector is well founded and not something made up by the union. The public is aware of the challenges we face daily in our schools and believes that something must be done as soon as possible. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government said it would make education its priority; what is it waiting for to put words into action?” – Sonia Ethier, CSQ President
“There were poor working conditions prior to the pandemic, but the latter has intensified them and thrown a spotlight on how much the education sector is struggling, as the survey substantiates. Teachers are frustrated and ready to go on strike to see some change and get more acceptable working conditions that will have a direct and positive impact on students.” – Josée Scalabrini, FSE-CSQ President
“It’s unacceptable: Seventy percent of our members are in precarious employment, their wages are lower than in any other level of government, and professional recognition is virtually non-existent. For example, we have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic, like health care personnel. But unlike them, we weren’t entitled to the COVID premium offered to front-line employees. It’s obvious to us and to the survey respondents just how unfair this is.” – Éric Pronovost, FPSS-CSQ President
“This survey shows that parents have noticed how the lack of resources is having a negative effect on their children. More than a third of professionals were already thinking of leaving the education sector before the pandemic. What we are asking is that there be enough of us to meet the needs of the students. There is little autonomy, many schools and recruitment has become particularly challenging.” – Jacques Landry, FPPE-CSQ President
“The survey clearly shows that Quebecers are as concerned as teachers about the lack of resources in education. Teachers in the English sector voted to go on strike to say enough is enough. It’s time for the government to empower us to do our job and ensure that our students have what they need to succeed.” – Heidi Yetman, APEQ-QPAT President
To see the survey, click here.
SOURCE Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers