With school back, Quebec still trying to fill more than 1,300 teacher spots

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Kids are back in school but Quebec is still grappling with an ongoing teacher shortage — with 1,331 positions still needing to be filled.

The province’s education ministry, which issued the update Tuesday evening, has seen about 500 teachers join the classroom in the last week. But it is looking to fill 217 regular full-time and 1,114 part-time teaching jobs in schools across Quebec.

The ministry says that while a teaching position may be open, it does “not systematically mean that a teacher is missing in a classroom.” This means the school could rely on substitute teachers or adding more tasks to a current teacher’s plate.

“At the risk of repeating myself, I would like to again and again warmly welcome and thank the staff of the 72 school service centres and school boards as well as all the school teams who worked hard last week for the start of the new school year,” Education Minister Bernard Drainville said in a statement. “Your efforts have made it possible to significantly reduce the number of positions to be filled.

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“We continue to work on finding solutions to overcome this shortage.”

The English Montreal School Board, the province’s largest English-language school board, confirmed to Global News on Wednesday that it has filled all remaining open teaching positions.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board, which oversees English-language schools in both the Montreal and Montérégie regions, also confirmed it filled all teaching jobs.

The latest numbers come Quebec was scrambling to hire more than 8,500 teachers two weeks ago. Despite a recruitment drive, Drainville said the province will continue to rely on what he called “not legally qualified individuals” — who don’t have teaching degrees or certificates — to fill classrooms.

Last week when Drainville was asked last whether there was at least one adult in each class as kids headed back to class, he answered that he would be informed of such a situation.

“I haven’t had any reports so far of a class where there wasn’t at least one adult. I haven’t had a report on that. I guess I would have if that had been the case,” he said.

— with files from Global’s Anne Leclair and The Canadian Press

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