Back in the cegeps : a nightmare of uncertainty for teachers precarious

Many teachers of college-level without continuously say they are excessively worried to get no contract in the fall semester due to a decrease in enrolment of students.

“I myself have 30 students out of 80 who have dropped out of my classes [in the winter], not to mention those who […] have not been successful. Call me pessimistic, but I expect a decline in enrolment of about 30%,” says Sébastien Ouimet, teacher of mathematics in Montréal. Several of his students have advised that they do réinscriraient not if the next session is carried out online.

Other young people may also withdraw for financial reasons, and international students may be unable to move to Quebec.

Forecasts are difficult to make

For a teacher who teaches at more than one institution, to accept an offer in the spring is already a risky bet. With the unpredictable environment of the pandemic and projections more or less just for cegeps, this bet becomes a “bomb of uncertainty and despair” for many of them, supports Sébastien Ouimet.

The teachers ‘ so-called “precarious” receive tasks in the spring, designed according to expectations of students, which may vary from one cégep to another. These are revised somewhat before the start of fall, according to the inscriptions confirmed. This year, some cegeps have to take into account a potential decline of entries related to the COVID-19 in their predictions, others do not.

“If I refuse one of my two offers, I can’t go back, and if I say yes, and then I lose my job because they cut classes made in the fall, I just lost everything,” says Mr. Ouimet. Moreover, to refuse an offer may lead, according to some criteria, the status of a resigning of it, the scratching of the list of professors of the institution. In short, the puzzle sucks in multiple ways.

Yet lucky are those who receive offers. Others, such as Sébastien Hurtubise, are still waiting to see their phone ring. On partial unemployment since January, the physical education teacher does not know if it will work in the fall, or how it will be able to give lectures at a distance in the event that it receives a contract. “Unemployment has come to an end. I am not entitled to the PCU. I am the father of a family, and I have three children,” he said, worried.

Fear of providing education that is of poor quality

With a task in mathematics is almost guaranteed in a cégep in Quebec city in the fall, Pier-Luc Morissette is concerned with the idea of offering a quality education to students who will follow his course to suit online or even worse, to see them give up. “What worries me is not knowing how am I going to do not that it doesn’t happen. I find it hard to see what I’m going to be able to do better and different,” says the one who follow the training on distance education offered by the provincial government.

If the prospect of pre-pandemic were more than ever encouraging for teachers in the cegep thanks to the baby boom of 2003, many teachers are afraid now that this population increase no longer has the desired effect. Others are more optimistic and hope that the government will allow the hiring of a greater number of teachers to provide adequate guidance to the students who will follow courses appropriate to distance or who will be training face-to-face given in alternation.

Teaching for foreign students

At the Montréal Campus of the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, where the training is exclusively offered to foreign students, the situation is just as worrisome. With no plane flight, which comes out of many countries, and challenging courses to offer at a distance with multiple time offsets, the start of September, is hypothecated.

“The campus, here, use, that of lecturers, and non-teachers [permanent]. Therefore, it is impossible for all of our members to be paid, if there are no students,” says Vincent Guérard, a teacher, a lecturer in law and president of the teachers union in the college.

Similar Situation in the universities

Although the granting of contracts is different to the university, the pandemic could also make the situation of its university lecturers are particularly unstable. A decrease of contracts could be expected, according to Pierre G. Verge, president of the Union of sessional lecturers to the University of Montreal (SCCCUM).

Course offerings reduced for budgetary reasons, placements of the suspended students resulting in a need for fewer supervisors, foreign students are less numerous: there are several issues to consider. Not to mention that the slowdown of the universities could, in the longer term, give rise to a decrease in hiring of teachers.

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