Skip to main content

Quebec floats fast-tracking teacher certification to fill need in classrooms


There was cautious optimism among those working in Quebec's education system Thursday after the province said it would create a fast-track option for teacher certification.

"Maybe by creating that path, maybe we will be able to attract more teachers," said Education Minister Bernard Drainville at a news conference in Laval.

While it's not yet clear how it will work, many in the field say it's necessary.

"The test will come when we see exactly how Mr. Drainville intends to help the school system attain these new objectives," said Russell Copeman of the Quebec English School Boards Association.

Copeman said Drainville's goal to create a fast-track program to certify teachers is a step in the right direction.

"When you have such an acute shortage of teachers, when you have so many teachers who are not legally qualified in our system, there has to be a recognition that maybe there are other avenues," said Copeman.

Drainville estimates about 4,000 people who are not certified teachers are already teaching in the province's classrooms.

Currently, those who want to become a teacher in Quebec must complete a four-year program or a two-year master's degree.

A one-year program has existed in the past, said Heidi Yetman of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers.

"If you already have a degree or two or maybe a master's degree, and you'd like to teach in high school, and your degrees correspond to something in the high school curriculum, then what a great way to get people into the system," she said.

Some parents are concerned, however, that a faster program could result in less-qualified teachers.

"If it was that long before, there must have been a reason. So what are we compromising to get teachers faster in the classroom?" said Kathy Korakakis of the English Parents' Committee Association.

Some other items on Drainville's seven-point list include expanding access to specialized programs with concentrations such as arts and sports, as well as increasing options for learning trades. Drainville also said he wants the province to improving the way French is taught.

Copeman hopes English schools will be included.

"Historically, it's been hard for English school boards to obtain authorization to broaden programs, to increase programs," he said.

Providing more elementary school classrooms with teachers' aides from after-school programs is another one of the minister's goals.

There's already a pilot project in place.

"What we're hearing from the ground is this is much appreciated," said Yetman. "The fact that the minister of education is suggesting we could expand the project, I think, is a really good thing."

More money to build new schools is also likely to be announced in the provincial budget this spring, said Drainville.   

The Liberal opposition criticized Drainville for not providing a detailed plan, and said the government isn’t serious about fixing the problems in schools.

"If we don't see in the next budget the money that we need to help the teachers so they can help the students, this doesn’t make any sense to us," said Liberal education ciritc Marwah Rizqy. Top Stories

Stay Connected