While Quebec was on high alert due to torrential rains causing unprecedented spring flooding, Alberta was facing the worst outbreak of forest fires in its history, exacerbated by particularly hot and dry weather.
The effects of climate change are increasingly visible and call for action. We must be aware of the limits of the planet and act accordingly if our societies are to be sustainable.
The complexity of the challenge requires a multidisciplinary approach. The consequences go far beyond our borders and the present time, it will be necessary to think far in time and far in space to design solutions. It will also be necessary to communicate and inform all stakeholders widely since society as a whole must be mobilized. In Quebec, as elsewhere, education is definitely a key element.
However, a few days ago, Minister Bernard Drainville tabled Bill 23 aimed at creating an Institute of Excellence in Education. Unfortunately, at the same time, it plans to remove the educational levels from preschool to secondary school from the mandate of the Superior Council of Education (CSE).
Created in 1964, the CSE is a jewel of the Quebec democratic system. This independent consultation and critical reflection body, separate from the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, has the important function of advising the ministers on all questions relating to education.
For higher education, from which so many solutions are expected, this is a disaster.
I had the immense privilege of contributing to the work of the CSE for 10 years. I am not an expert in education, but an engineer working in an engineering university, I was a little intimidated and curious to participate in the discussions on the issues of “small classes”. Well, I quickly found that all parties involved benefited from this think tank. The challenges of today’s students are those of tomorrow’s students. The work of the CSE therefore offers a crucial window to higher education. By drawing on perspectives from preschool to high school, they allow CEGEPs and universities to adapt, before the waves of change hit them hard. Now we want to cut this link and this holistic vision, built at the Council table for almost 60 years!
At a time when the collaborative approach is demanded everywhere to make sustainable progress, Minister Drainville proposes to eliminate these multidisciplinary analyzes and to push the levels of education into watertight silos. For what ? Who would want to deprive themselves, while preparing for a situation of unprecedented magnitude, of cross-views conferring a fuller and more nuanced understanding?
Minister, consult your experts at the Fonds de recherche du Québec. They state that solving complex problems requires everyone’s contribution, an intersectoral approach and synergies between disciplines. Your suggestion is wrong.