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The CAQ abandons CEGEP students in the region, oppositions worry

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse candienne “It is imperative for the CAQ not to turn its back on CEGEPs, particularly those in the regions, where attractiveness is already more difficult. This would inevitably lead to abandoning our students in the regions,” commented Liberal MP Michelle Setlakwe.

The state of deterioration of Quebec's CEGEPs worries the opposition parties, who judge that the Legault government is “abandoning” students in the regions, in addition to “shoveling forward” inevitable expenses for maintain these institutions.

Le Devoir reported on Friday the poor state of several CEGEPs in Quebec, around twenty of which alone would need significant investments. 'half a billion dollars for their infrastructure to reach a satisfactory level.

This hidden debt, called the “asset maintenance deficit,” today reaches $700.5 million, compared to $326.2 million just three years ago. Added to this are the $63 million that the college network would need to meet various needs in terms of equipment, particularly technological.

To (re)read

  • Teachers and students suffer the “vicious circle” of CEGEP degradation
  • These twenty CEGEPs accumulate a maintenance deficit of half a billion dollars
  • CEGEP students unable to find accommodation in the region

The last Quebec budget revealed that only 35% of buildings in the Quebec college network are considered to be in satisfactory condition. This percentage has fallen by 14% in two years, far from the government's target, which is to have 70% of CEGEP real estate deemed in good condition by March 2026.

“The facts are undeniable: CEGEP real estate has become neglected by the government in recent years, particularly due to its poor budgetary choices,” commented Michelle Setlakwe of the Quebec Liberal Party on Friday. In his opinion, “it is imperative for the CAQ not to turn its back on CEGEPs, particularly those in the regions, where attractiveness is already more difficult. This would inevitably lead to abandoning our students in the regions.”

After the Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne in Montreal, the CEGEPs of Rimouski and Chicoutimi have the largest deficit in maintaining their buildings. The Jonquière CEGEP comes in eighth place in the list of CEGEPs with the greatest infrastructure maintenance needs.

Pascal Bérubé, of the Parti Québécois, judges that “CEGEPs are the poor relations of post-secondary education”, since the “vast majority” of the sums planned for infrastructure projects in the post-secondary sector are allocated to universities. “However, CEGEP plays a vital role in Quebec, more than 50% of Quebecers obtain a diploma from it. It is an institution that Quebecers care about and which is established in all our regions,” underlined the member for Matane-Matapédia.

Legault against CEGEPs

At Québec solidaire, MP Sol Zanetti asks Prime Minister François Legault to stop “shoveling the problem forward, otherwise it will cost a fortune in the future”.

“What is happening in our CEGEPs is the same thing as in our schools and our hospitals and it was predictable. The CAQ has no plan to straighten them out and that worries me a lot. Let us remember that when François Legault spoke about CEGEPs when founding the CAQ, it was to abolish them,” he said.

In 2011, the head of the Coalition Avenir Québec made headlines when he declared that CEGEPs were “a damn good place to learn to smoke drugs and drop out.” He had to explain that he did not want to abolish CEGEPs, but declared that he did not agree with the creation of these institutions. ” It is a caricature. It’s obvious that there are dropout rates that are too high at CEGEP. I said it was a good place to learn how to smoke dope, but there is some truth to that. There is a problem in high school and CEGEP. I don’t want it to be trivialized,” he pleaded.

The Ministry of Higher Education says it plans to invest 2.1 billion over the next 10 years in order to “fill a portion of the asset maintenance deficit” in Quebec CEGEPs. He recognizes that “the significant increase in construction costs in recent years has forced several establishments to postpone carrying out certain maintenance work”.

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