Un­nec­es­sary wor­ry­ing

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

The ex­is­tence of Cham­plain Col­lege de­pends on so many vari­ables that its ex­is­tence is a marvel on its own. Since it is the only English Cegep out­side of Mon­treal, the­o­ret­i­cally it cov­ers a ter­ri­tory that is larger than most coun­tries on the planet, while be­ing one of the small­est in the province.

The fight that has been brew­ing for years, namely split­ting up the col­lege in three, came up again, this time try­ing to em­u­late a setup in the DeLanaudière re­gion where cam­puses are ‘au­ton­o­mous’.

What is needed is a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing by stu­dents and staff that what can be done some­where is not nec­es­sar­ily po­lit­i­cally ac­cept­able ev­ery­where.

And what is needed and fast is the sig­na­ture of Min­is­ter Blais on the de­cree ful­fill­ing the half dozen seats on the board. The board miss­ing these mem­bers is in dis­ar­ray, un­able to func­tion nor­mally. The stroke of the min­is­te­rial pen would solve one big prob­lem with­out a penny to be spent. A rar­ity in to­day’s so called ‘aus­ter­ity’ en­vi­ron­ment.

Next is a gen­uine re­flec­tion on the state of English ed­u­ca­tion in Que­bec. It is not a Lib­eral spon­sored mish­mash of sem­i­nars, as hap­pened last week­end, that will solve the deep prob­lem of gov­er­nance in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

That Que­bec’s fa­ther of our school sys­tem is propos­ing that school boards be elected by par­ents shows that a non-ex­ist­ing prob­lem doesn’t need a so­lu­tion that would worsen the sit­u­a­tion.

And we should not leave it to the Supreme Court to think alone about what an ed­u­ca­tion board is all about.

For the An­glo­phones in Que­bec, it is not the par­ents who need to con­trol their school, col­lege and univer­sity boards, but the com­mu­nity. They are, now, the only in­sti­tu­tions left in Que­bec where the com­mu­nity has a voice.

As for Cham­plain, it needs a re­fo­cus­ing of its mis­sion and a wean­ing of its re­liance on French stu­dents to fill the void of miss­ing English stu­dents. For this it needs re­sources to pro­vide ser­vices to all re­gions of Que­bec. And it will have to find a way to do so co­op­er­at­ing with the French Cegep. It is un­ac­cept­able that in 2015, English high school grad­u­ates in the Gaspe, the North Shore or in North­ern Que­bec do not have ac­cess to lo­cal col­le­giate level ed­u­ca­tion in their lan­guage.

Up­root­ing kids, to Que­bec City or Mon­treal, is the best way of killing these com­mu­ni­ties.

This brings us back, once again, to the ‘Cen­tre sco­laire com­mu­nau­taire’ con­cept started in New-Brunswick decades ago. The English com­mu­nity should in­ves­ti­gate se­ri­ously that ap­proach if it wants to be able to fur­nish ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices in the fu­ture.

Mean­while, this news­pa­per is will­ing to draw a check to cover the cost of the ink needed by the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter to sign the pa­per­work to fill the va­cant post on the board of Cham­plain.

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