Thousands of students are affected by the education support personnel shortage, which denies them the services they should have access to to fully thrive. In childcare services provided at school, for example, there are ratios to ensure children’s safety, but also to foster their development – contributiong to which is the educators’ key task. Yet, “it’s impossible for them to do it correctly, by spending the necessary time with each student, when the ratios double,” deplores the president of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), Éric Pronovost.
He adds that the situation is also difficult for students with disabilities who are not all receiving adequate support, notably when the person assigned to them has no training in the area. Not to mention all the special needs students who cannot have access to the support of a special education technician, due to a lack of staff. “Not only is the child penalized, but all of the other students in their class too!” claims Éric Provovost.
The FPSS-CSQ has been denouncing for months the important consequences of the staff shortage in the school network. Just before the start of the school year, Éric Pronovost expressed regret at having never seen such a lack of workers, going as far as to say the number of still vacant positions was alarming a week before classes were to start.
Situations that were unimaginable until now became a reality. For the first time, full-time positions, traditionally very coveted, didn’t find any taker.
An avoidable shortage
For the FPSS-CSQ president, the situation could have been avoided: “We’ve been talking about a staff shortage since 2013. We warned the governments that succeeded one another, we offered realistic solutions, but none took action. We now end up in this situation.”
Offering the school support workers full-time, permanent positions and higher salaries is part of the solution, but “a recognition of their job to the extent of their contribution is also necessary,” concludes Éric Pronovost.