Global update: Trouble brewing in Quebec (Part 3 in a series)
We can draw comparisons with the situation in Quebec’s education sector and recent events in the UK, as public sector workers hold out for better pay deals.
As in England, industrial relations in Quebec could be heading for rocky ground. The Quebec government has offered its public sector workers a pay rise of 6 per cent, spread over four years. With inflation running at 9 per cent, the offer has been rejected, in part because the offer would tie the pay award down for four years at a time of considerable economic uncertainty.
Some small protests have already taken place, but the negotiations are at an early stage. The Directorate at the Western Quebec School Board are watching the situation closely because theirs is a more acute situation than in other cases. Their neighbours Ontario are about to settle for an inflation-adjusted settlement, which will make the existing disparity in pay between Ontario and Quebec even greater. Further down the line this could adversely affect staff recruitment and retention and result in a drain of talent across the border.
Quebec Education Strategic Plan
After some delay, the Ministry of Education has issued its strategic plan for 2023-2027. In common with most recent practice, no version has been published in English.
The plan has one big ambition – to raise the graduation and qualification rate to 90 per cent by 2030. In 2018 a study by the “Institut du Quebec” reported that 64 per cent of public high school students graduate. This rose to 69 per cent including privately educated students. However, this reached 80 per cent after another two years of education. In comparison with other areas of North America, Quebec has one of the lowest graduation rates. This comparative result contrasts markedly with the PISA results we reference in the first article in this series, which places Quebec amongst the highest performing provinces in Canada.
The aims of the strategy
They refer to as the assignment, it is to –
- Make the success of our students the raison d’être of the schools and centres, of the network and of the Ministry.
- Make the school network an employer of choice.
- Ensure the performance of the Ministry.
- Play a leading role in involving the whole of society in the educational mission of the State and in the practice of leisure and sports activities.
- Aiming for excellence for their success: our commitment!
- Benevolence – Commitment – Excellence
- Promoting evidence-based data in education
- Specific orientation
ISSUE 1: EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS
Orientation 1: Make the success of our students a top priority for Quebec society
Issue 1: Increase student success
- Rate of obtaining a first diploma or a first qualification in 7 years after entering secondary school
- Success rate of boys
- Success rate of students
- Success rate of indigenous students
- Success rate in the compulsory reading test in French, language of instruction, 4th year of primary school, in the public network
- Success rate in the compulsory mathematics test, 6th year of primary school, in the public commitment-to-success network
- Total number of 4-year-old kindergarten classes
Orientation 2: Make vocational training truly attractive
Objective 2: Modernise and enhance vocational training
- Rate of obtaining a vocational training diploma after 3 years
- Number of enrolments in vocational training centres
- Society’s perception of vocational training
Orientation 2: Make schools and centres welcoming spaces
Objective 3: Renovate and modernise our school infrastructure
- Percentage of targeted buildings in the school network whose condition is satisfactory
Objective 4: Maintain a climate of caring, well-being and safety in schools and centres
- Well-being index for pupils and staff in schools and centres
ISSUE 2: SCHOOL PERSONNEL
Orientation 3: Promote the professions of the education network
Objective 5: Promote a healthy and motivating work environment, in support of attracting and retaining staff
- Teacher retention rate during the first 5 years of practising the profession
- Retention rate of school staff
Objective 6: Modernise initial and continuing teacher training
- Percentage of teachers who have undergone continuous training consistent with practices recognized as effective by research
- Enrollments in teacher education programs
- Updating of the different paths leading to the teaching profession
ISSUE 3: GOVERNANCE
Orientation 5: Make the Department and the network more efficient
Objective 7: Strengthen the use of digital in the network
- Proportion of service centres/school boards participating in communities of practice in digital intelligence
- Level of maturity of management practices using digital intelligence
Objective 8: Enhance the leadership of school principals and network leaders
- Percentage of service centres/school boards stating that they have implemented a deployment plan for effective commitment-to-success practices
Orientation 6: Ensure the Department’s performance
Objective 9: Valuing Ministry staff
- Proportion of staff who would recommend the Ministry of Education as a workplace
Goal 10: Achieve a high level of societal satisfaction with the delivery of corporate services
- Level of satisfaction of society with regard to the services provided by the Ministry
The time table
The diagram below defines the process for determining the plan at board and school level.Now the plan has been published, each School Board has to develop its ‘commitment to success’ plan by June 30, 2023. In order to do this it must consult with its stakeholders before submitting it to the Ministry, which will then approve or modify these plans by the end of August 2023.
At this point each school develops its education project. This is their implementation plan for their contribution to the strategic plan. This has to be approved by their governing board and submitted to the Directorate by December 22, 2023.
The diagram below illustrates how the plan is implemented and then reported upon annually to the various groups at the three levels – the Quebec Ministry of Education, the school service centre or for at least the moment the School Boards in the English sector and the school.
The illustrations and more detailed information on how the Strategic Plan is put into practice was taken from the ‘Update of the commitment-to-success plan’ published by the Quebec Provincial Government in February 2022. We are grateful to Stewart Aitken, Director of Elementary and Secondary Education for providing us with the majority of the information in this article.
In the next article we will share with you the work Mike Dubeau, Director General of the Western Quebec School Board has recently been engaged in to develop the board’s schools.
Take care and stay safe