Education must be the top post-COVID priority

When it comes to considering what Quebec will look like after the pandemic, it would seem that the concerns are mainly of an economic nature if we trust the words reported by journalist Hugo Pilon-Larose (“COVID-19: que will be Quebec after? ”*). Gold,in our view, the post-pandemic priority should definitely be education. Indeed, if we aspire to “build better” the Quebec of tomorrow, the first stone of this construction should imperatively be the improvement of the infrastructures and the educational tools made available to education professionals.

Marc-André Girard and Marie-Claude Gauthier
Respectively, school principal, doctoral student in education and author, and teacher and doctoral student in education

Right off the bat, let’s be frank: there are a distressing number of schools that have a high level of decay, so much so that parents and staff are concerned about water quality and water quality. the air. In a Quebec that wants to be a leader in several technological fields, this is frankly unacceptable, even embarrassing. Investing heavily in school infrastructure means giving importance to the institution that is the school and demonstrating to students and their parents not only that it is important to attend school, but also that He state does not skimp on resources when it comes to providing children with adequate education.

However, at the present time, our discourse is inconsistent: we have long passed a law obliging school attendance, put forward a plethora of initiatives promoting school perseverance, but our schools are practically crumbling! Find the error ! If it is really “time to reinvest in our public services”, let’s start by renovating our dilapidated schools and build new ones worthy of the XXIe century to cope not only with the increase in our school enrollments, but also with the increasingly high expectations of modern society …

We will thus be able to offer educational services worthy of our ambitions thanks to quality infrastructures where our students and those working alongside them will be safe, to take advantage of the favorable conditions for learning or teaching.

Moreover, in order to “see economic development through the prism of pride and solidarity”, shouldn’t we inevitably go through the construction of very high expectations relating to our education system? In this regard, let us recall the nobility of education which consists in giving back to greater than oneself in order to see to the development and updating of one’s neighbor. We cannot speak of citizens of the world, circular economy, nationalism or solidarity without first educating our young people in these values ​​during their school career, and this, in authentic contexts reflecting, precisely, ideals such as leadership. and the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Digital fractures

Finally, if “the crisis has exposed flaws in our society”, it has certainly revealed several in our education system, particularly with regard to inequity. At the dawn of 2021, the issue of digital access as a lever for quality education, even at a distance, should have been resolved a long time ago. There is no reason why, after 10 months of crisis, hundreds, even thousands of households still do not have access to a laptop and a quality wireless network, likely to allow all Quebec children to continue learning. remotely.

There is no reason why teachers at all levels of education have not been better trained over the past decade to integrate digital technology into their teaching when Quebec society is a pillar in terms of technology, particularly in terms of artificial intelligence.

Fortunately, in recent months, we have witnessed immense progress in the development of technocompetence among teachers across Quebec. Let’s build on this unprecedented momentum to move forward!

Of course, we have all the excuses in the world: no one could have foreseen such a major upheaval in our lifestyles, without forgetting the many already existing challenges linked, among other things, to deprivation, to the heterogeneity of regions and to needs. individuals from a significant number of students. However, to overcome all these pitfalls, what matters for post-COVID education in education is a combination of ingredients that are by no means magical: bold, even courageous, academic and educational leadership, and resources that empower the ambitions of educators working in our schools. Because education in Quebec should be linked more to wealth than to poverty, to initiative than to begging …

In conclusion, to the questions “What does society need most, and how can I contribute?” », We have to admit that the keys to this social mobilization are to be found in our schools; these same schools being at the heart of a changing society within which pupils and students of all levels of education ask only to recognize themselves in their respective environments to better spread their wings under the gestures benevolent of all those who accompany them daily.

In the light of these considerations, we urge our government, like those who will succeed it, to declare education as THE national priority, with what that implies: access to human, material and financial resources, granted and managed. thanks to a mobilizing leadership whose perspective will be to transform Quebec education.

* Read the Hugo Pilon-Larose file

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