Scholarship

Forgotten from the Québec prospective scholarship program

With a package of $1.7 billion over four years, Perspective Québec’s scholarship program focuses on five areas: education, child care services, information technology, engineering, then health and social services.

From autumn 2022, a young person studying at university in one of the programs targeted by the government will receive $1,500 for each successful session.

At the university level, the amount increases to $2,500 per semester, giving a $20,000 stipend at the end of a four-year bachelor’s degree. However, programs that various stakeholders consider crucial to the Quebec economy are excluded from this major incentive.

This is the case with the Inter-University Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. We wonder why we were excludedsays Augustin Gakwaya, graduate director of aerospace engineering at Laval University.

This exclusion, he said, is all the more surprising given that Polytechnique Montreal’s undergraduate aerospace engineering program is on the list of eligible programs.

We are also part of the labor shortage! »

Quote from Augustin Gakwaya, graduate director of aerospace engineering at Université Laval

Université Laval programs are excluded from Perspective Québec scholarships. (Archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexandre DUVAL

A small space for science

The Perspective Québec scholarship program is also raising concerns in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Bioinformatics at Laval University.

Director Manon Couture notes that the government prioritizes engineering programs at the expense of the basic sciences, even though they create important jobs. We are living with a pandemicillustrated by Ms. Couture.

The need for research and development in Quebec is significant, if only from the point of view of detecting pathogens, finding new means to fight pandemics, obtaining means to fight infectionscontinues.

In his department, only a bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics is eligible for Perspective Québec scholarships. He worries that this will discourage students from going to other, ineligible programs.

If that’s the case, the consequences will be felt in the labor market, Ms. Couture predicts.

The fact that there are potentially fewer students in certain programs will inevitably mean fewer graduates, so in a few years we can worry about an imbalance in industries where there will be no scholarships. »

Quote from Manon Couture, Director of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Bioinformatics at Université Laval

Priorities

The Minister of Higher Education said in an interview that she is aware of these concerns. Danielle McCann assures that it is does not diminish the importance of basic sciencesbut that it was necessary to prioritize engineering programs, among others, where there is a glaring shortage of personnel.

We are aware that it is a balance. We had to start somewhere. »

Quote from Danielle McCann, Minister of Higher Education

Regarding the absence of an inter-university master’s degree in aeronautical engineering on the list, Danielle McCann says that it is more important to offer scholarships at the undergraduate level, as this encourages the rapid arrival of graduates in the market. insufficient number of employees.

Danielle McCann, Minister of Higher Education.

Danielle McCann, Minister of Higher Education

Photo: Facetime (screenshot)

However, the Minister does not rule out that he will adjust the list of authorized programs in such a way that it becomes even some problems.

Additionally, at the end of the day on Wednesday, Ms. McCann announced the addition of several programs to the list, including forestry engineering and materials and metallurgical engineering. Exclusions also caused misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.

In fact, it will be all the engineering components that will be included in the Perspective Québec scholarshipsshe said.

Mobilization in CEGEP

Even in the network of universities, the list of authorized programs causes dissatisfaction. A petition on the National Assembly’s website has so far collected more than 7,800 signatures to include social work technology in the Perspective Québec scholarship program.

All the signals we are getting are that there is a shortage of social work techniciansexplains Sylvain Montmarquette, president of the Quebec Association of Social Work College Teachers.

According to him, the needs of these technicians are undeniable in community organizations, shelters, and youth centers.

Unfortunately, Mr. Montmarquette notes, social work technology students are already considering transferring to special education technology, which is one of the scholarship-eligible programs. It undermines their choice of programhe said.

“For $3,000 a year, couldn’t I go into special education and continue my merry way in counseling?” This is a discussion we regularly participate in. »

Quote from Sylvain Montmarquette, President of the Quebec Association of Social Work College Teachers

In this context, Minister McCann confirms that the compilation of the list of eligible programs was carried out in cooperation with other departments. The absence of a social work technique reflects discussions she had with her colleague in charge of health and social services, Lionel Carmant.

The people they hire to protect the youth are graduates. It needs a high school diploma because there are reserved acts, summarizes Mrs. McCann. However, this argument is disputed by Mr. Montmarquette.

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