Schools in a state of decay: “There are no excuses”, says Roberge

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ÉSchools in a state of decay: “”There are no excuses,” says Roberge

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The Minister of Education of Quebec, Jean-François Roberge, promises that the most urgent situations will be resolved by the start of the school year.

Minister of Education of Quebec, Jean-François Roberge, wants to be categorical: “I will never accept that staff or students are in environments that are not safe,” he said in an interview with Radio-Canada.

He was reacting to the revelations of Radio-Canada which showed that more than half of the schools in Quebec are in a state of advanced dilapidation.

Some buildings are in such poor condition that students and teachers sometimes have to deal with tiles falling in the middle of the classroom and vermin infestations.

With the billions we put and the leeway that we have given to school service centres, there is no excuse for having places that are not adequate, says Jean-François Roberge.

< p class="e-p">He promises that the most urgent cases will be resolved by the start of the school year, at the end of the summer.

The Radio-Canada survey shows that more than 50% of schools in Quebec are in a state of advanced dilapidation.

No apologies, therefore, but the minister nevertheless offered a series of arguments which, in his opinion, explain the advanced state of decrepitude of certain school buildings.

Jean-François Roberge invites us to consider the province's entrepreneurial capacity. There is, he says, a lack of construction contractors available in the market to deal with rapidly renovating schools.

“Sometimes we issue contracts and there are not even any bidders. »

— Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education of Quebec

But he swears that his government is doing the most that [it] can do regarding construction contractors .

Repairing our schools is a national priority, he says.

Our schools were in a terrible state when we arrived in 2018, says Mr. Roberge. We have improved the situation, he insists.

The Ministry of Education, while under the aegis of the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard, had promised that 85% of the school building stock would be restored to a condition deemed acceptable. A target that Cabinet Legault revised to 50% during its term.

However, Radio-Canada revealed on Wednesday that the Legault government still failed to reach the target. ;objective he had set himself.

Mouse droppings found in a classroom at Spark School.

It's that the promise of the Liberal government was unrealistic, according to Minister Roberge. The target had been established by the previous government when it did not have a picture of the situation. He hadn't done the school inspection. He had no idea how many schools needed updating. We couldn't rely on that target, he said.

The Legault government has invested $21 billion over the next 10 years, he recalled. 62% of these amounts are for renovating, for fixing up the schools, according to the minister.

A sufficient budget, he maintains, before promising that his ministry will be able to bring our schools back properly.

With information from Gabrielle Proulx

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