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Delays in 4-year-old kindergarten due to immigrants, according to Drainville

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press In January, Minister Bernard Drainville said he feared that the federal government's “open bar on immigration” would cause the “breakdown” of the Quebec education system.

The Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, points to the arrival of temporary immigrants to explain the government's delays in opening 4-year-old kindergarten classes.

In one year, Quebec has opened 74 of these classes: there are therefore 1660 in activity, compared to 1586 at the same date last year.

At the same time, “we have 1,267 francization and reception classes for temporary immigrants,” Minister Drainville underlined on Wednesday. He said he was unable to open more 4-year-old kindergarten classes.

“We want to create [kindergarten for 4-year-old] classes, but that takes teachers, that takes us premises. And most of my staff, in certain school service centers, are mainly used to instruct new arrivals,” he lamented. “In some cases, I inaugurate a brand new school, there should have been 4-year-old kindergartens, and why are there none ? Because we have to educate a larger number of students than expected, and in some cases, they are new arrivals,” Mr. Drainville continued.

The teachers assigned to the “new francization and reception classes are teachers that I could use in other contexts, for example 4-year-old kindergartens. But I don’t have them,” he also said. In January, the minister said he feared that the federal government's “open bar on immigration” would cause the “breakdown” of the Quebec education system.

Facing him, liberal MP Madwa-Nika Cadet reminded him that the Coalition Avenir Québec had been warned on multiple occasions — and before the increase in temporary immigration — of the difficulties linked to the opening of 4-year-old kindergarten classes . “Was that a bad idea ?” she asked the minister. “That was a very good idea,” he replied promptly.

In 2018, the Coalition Avenir Québec committed to opening 5,000 4-year-old kindergarten classes for 2023-2024. Once in power, François Legault's party instead committed to delivering 2,600 classes in 2025-2026. This promise was once again revised, in February 2023, when the objective of 2,600 classes was postponed until a possible third CAQ mandate, in 2029-2030.

Towards a fourth year of paid baccalaureate ?

In the study of credits on Wednesday, the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, once again showed his preference for a baccalaureate in teaching shortened to three years which would leave a place for a paid internship in the fourth year. “The fourth year teacher is given a class and it becomes a sort of internship, like in medicine,” said the elected official. In a response to PQ MP Pascal Bérubé, he stressed that certain universities already offered this possibility to students. “I hope that more faculties of education will join the movement,” he said. He stressed that only one faculty — which he did not name — opposed this proposal.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116