QUEBEC, March 17 / CNW Telbec / - The Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE) does not see how the budget presented today could be promising for the future. Education, a real lever of development for the future, will certainly not be able to be supported by such starved investments. This budget is part of the path taken by the Charest government, namely to destroy the state, promote free market rules and increase the financial burden on individuals. Once again, it is the most disadvantaged, students and the middle class who are called upon to reduce the deficit the most.
What future for education?
The addition of $ 328 million to the education budget essentially only responds to the increase in system costs. Of this amount, 34 M$ are foreseen for previous commitments concerning support programs for school perseverance. As for the $ 240 million over five years to provide schools with digital educational tools, the FAE continues to say that this choice remains questionable from the point of view of education priorities. The priority given to intensive English language learning in the sixth year appears to be just as questionable.
“Where are the measures to promote public schools? What do we do with the commitments formulated to review the current model of integration of students with disabilities or with adjustment or learning difficulties (EHDAA)? Empty promises? There is an urgent need to intervene. Is it necessary to recall the obvious link between the lack of support for HDAA students and dropping out of school? Dropping out of school comes at a price: $ 2 billion a year. Despite this sad observation, where are the funds to meet the needs of students, parents and teachers in this budget? No signal in this budget to affirm the importance of education for our society. If this is the future, it is not encouraging, it is frankly deplorable, even dramatic, ”added Pierre St-Germain, president of the FAE.
Tuition fee increase
Minister Raymond Bachand's budget announces an increase of 325 $ per year in tuition fees. In 4 years, this is 1300 $ more that each student will pay and in 2017, tuition fees will amount to 3793 $ per year. The net contribution of students in terms of university funding will stand at 265 M$ in 2016-2017. This is a clear decline for students and a barrier to access to studies. For the president of the FAE, Pierre St-Germain, “the government thus denies the conclusions of the Parent report, the very foundation of education in Quebec, which advocated financial accessibility to studies as a vector of social progress. It's sad that this happens as we celebrate the 50e anniversary of the adoption of the Magna Carta of Education. "
A big hole in the social net and a direct attack on women
To achieve a zero deficit, by 2013-2014, Quebec intends to reduce its spending by $ 6.9 billion and will ask Quebecers to pay an additional $ 4.3 billion through tariff increases and taxes. For example, the QST will increase by one percentage point on 1er January 2012, to be brought to 9.5 %. The “health contribution” will increase to 100 $ in 2012 and to 200 $ in 2013 for most taxpayers. We are also narrowing the door to retirement by increasing actuarial penalties for those who retire before age 65 and increasing the contribution rate for those who stay. “All of these measures make a big hole in the social net and reinforce inequalities. The fight against the deficit comes squarely to the detriment of low-income workers and students. "
The changes to the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) will affect women more directly. They are often found among the weakest employees, without a pension plan. They are therefore the most penalized by these new provisions. Already in great demand as a natural caregiver, we add to their burden by requiring them to work even longer. In addition, by reducing the budget allocated to the status of women by 35 %, the government is confirming its lack of sensitivity to the problems that women still experience in Quebec society.
The Charest government renounces its commitments
By providing the Minister of Finance with a tight budget framework, has the President of the Conseil du trésor, Michelle Courchesne, ever forgotten that she was Minister of Education? However, less than a year ago, in April 2010, Ms. Courchesne was worried about the working conditions of teachers, a situation she described as inhuman. She mentioned that she wanted to review the entire integration policy, affirming publicly that “integration cannot be done to the detriment of the success of other students. "1 Prime Minister Jean Charest also declared at the same period during the General Council of the Liberal Party: “After ten years, we must now ask ourselves: is this really the best way to ensure the success of pupils in difficulty? "2 In turn, the Minister of Education, Line Beauchamp, has promised the announcement of a ministerial plan for HDAA students by June 2011. We can now really doubt the minister's ability to carry out this project. without adding substantial financial resources.
“There is no measure in this budget to articulate the Liberal promise to review the current model of integration. The Minister of Education, Line Beauchamp, who said last fall to make this issue her priority, does not seem to have been persuasive with her colleagues, having been unable to convince her government to add funds now. education. The Charest government is showing with this budget its inability to show consistency between its speech and its actions. But for our part, we are going to continue the fight and maintain the pressure so that resources are added and that the current model of integration be reviewed, ”concluded Pierre St-Germain.
The FAE brings together nine education unions representing some 32,000 teachers (one third of the teaching staff in Quebec) in preschool, elementary, secondary, prison, vocational training and adult education. as well as school staff from Peter Hall Schools and the Fournier Academic Center.