Education International
Education International

Canada: Unions call for commitment to public college education

published 29 August 2014 updated 1 September 2014

Education unions in Quebec, Canada have appealed to the province’s Minister of Education, Sport and Leisure to publicly declare the importance of the public college system amid calls to have it abolished.

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), and its college and higher education federations, the FEC-CSQ, the FPPC-CSQ, and the FPSES-CSQ, urged Minister Yves Bolduc to follow up the Demers report commissioned by the Government of Quebec containing recommendations on the supply of college education.

"We are very pleased that the Government has quickly and strongly rejected the proposal made by the younger elements of [Bolduc’s] party that aimed to abolish the cégeps,” said CSQ President Louise Chabot. “The institution still has a bright future ahead of it in which to fulfil its mandate to provide access to higher education and to serve as a driver for economic, cultural and social development in all the regions of Quebec."

In Quebec, a general and vocational college (cégep) is a public education institution offering technical and pre-university courses. Pre-university programmes run for two years and provide access to university education. The technical programmes generally run for three years and provide access to the labour market and to certain university programmes. The cégeps also offer a continuing education service.

EI: Provide adequate funding to the cégeps

Education International (EI) supports its Canadian colleagues to ask the Quebec Government to ensure that good training programmes be offered in the cégeps. "We would also like to emphasise that public authorities are responsible for guaranteeing stable and sufficient public funding for the cégeps and universities, unlike the public finance austerity policies that certain politicians are trying to impose in Canada and around the world," said EI Secretary General Fred van Leeuwen.

He also urged the provincial Government of Quebec to implement the recommendations that came on the heels of a structuring consultation of the organisations representing education professionals.