Education Minister wants more English in schools

QUEBEC CITY – Dr. Yves Bolduc, a general practitioner from Alma, is Quebec’s new Education Minister. He said health begins with education.

“The priority of the government should be education because if you go to school, you’re going to have a good job, you’re going to be less sick,” he told Global News in a sit-down interview.

Bolduc was chosen by Premier Philippe Couillard to head the Education department less than a week ago. The Jean-Talon MNA has since met countless education workers and listed off his priorities.

“The student, the student, the student. We have to get a better system where the student is going to succeed his education and the second priority is to give value to the teacher,” he said.

Among his broad orientations, more intensive English. The minister said he is in favour of military families keeping access to English schools and has already shelved PQ plans to rewrite the history curriculum to include more nationalist content. He said he will gladly sit with Quebec’s anglophone community to discuss the possibility of English schools teaching more French.

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“I always thought it’s very important for our children to learn English, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want them to be good in French,” said Bolduc. “We want people to be good in French and we want them to have a second language, even a third language.”

Be that as it may, Quebec’s School Board Federation knows cuts are coming. The Liberals have plans to abolish 500 jobs in regional agencies and possibly also cut at the school board level.

“We know that the budget cuts have always an impact on student services,” warned President Josée Bouchard.

Bolduc will also be responsible for Higher Education. His plan to keep indexing tuition fees has militant students from l’ASSE on high alert.

“Indexation is a tuition fee increase and we will fight it, doesn’t matter who’s in charge of education,” said ASSE spokesperson Benjamin Gingras.

Bolduc said changes won’t happen overnight; he has four and a half years in front of him. But already, the physician is arriving at a diagnosis:

“You know I don’t want to tell people the system is sick, I just want to tell that the system has to get better,” he concluded.