Forgotten from the Perspective Québec scholarship program

With an envelope of $1.7 billion over four years, the Perspective Québec scholarship program targets five areas: education, child care services, information technology, engineering, and health and social services.

From autumn 2022, a young person studying at university level 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, for a total of $20,000 in scholarships at the end of a four-year degree. However, programs that various stakeholders consider crucial to Quebec’s economy are excluded from this major boost.

This is the case with the inter-university master’s degree in aerospace engineering. We wonder why we are excludedsays Augustin Gakwaya, graduate director of aerospace engineering at Laval University.

This exclusion is all the more surprising, he said, since Polytechnique Montréal’s graduate program in aerospace engineering is on the list of eligible programs.

We are part of the labor shortage too! »

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

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

Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexandre DUVAL

Little space for science

The Perspective Québec scholarship program is also causing fear in the department of biochemistry, microbiology and bioinformatics at Laval University.

Director Manon Couture notes that engineering programs are favored by the government, to the detriment of the basic sciences, even if the latter create important jobs. We are living with a pandemicillustrated by Mrs. Couture.

The need for research and development in Quebec is significant, if only to discover pathogens, to find new means of controlling pandemics, to have means of controlling infectionsshe continues.

In his department, only the Bioinformatics degree is eligible for Perspective Québec scholarships. She fears that this will discourage students from going to other, unacceptable programs.

If this is the case, the consequences will be felt in the labor market, predicts Ms. Couture.

The fact that there are potentially fewer students on certain programs will necessarily mean fewer graduates, so we can fear an imbalance in a few years for sectors in which there will be no scholarships. »

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


In an interview, the higher education minister said she was 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 staff shortages were evident.

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

Quote from Danielle McCann, Higher Education Minister

Regarding the absence of inter-university master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering from the list, Danielle McCann confirms that it is more important to offer scholarships at the bachelor’s level, as it favors the rapid arrival of graduates on the market.employment in sectors that are understaffed.

Danielle McCann, Higher Education Minister.

Danielle McCann, Higher Education Minister

Photo: Facetime (screenshot)

The minister, however, does not rule out that the list of acceptable programs be changed in order to solve it some questions.

Moreover, 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, these will be all the engineering components that will be included in the Perspective Québec scholarshipsshe says.

Mobilization in CEGEPs

And in the faculty network, the list of acceptable programs creates dissatisfaction. A petition on the website of the National Assembly has so far collected more than 7,800 signatures for social work technique to be part of the Perspective Québec scholarship program.

All the signals we receive point to a shortage of social work techniciansexplains Sylvain Montmarquette, president of the Association of Teachers of Social Work Colleges of Quebec.

According to him, the need for these technicians is indisputable in social organizations, shelters, and youth centers.

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

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

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

In this regard, Minister McCann confirms that the creation of the list of acceptable programs was done in partnership with other departments. The absence of a social work technique reflects discussions she had with her fellow delegate for health and social services, Lionel Carmant.

The people they hire for youth protection are graduates. He needs a high school diploma because there are reserved parts, Ms McCann sums up. This argument is contested by Mr. Montmarquette.

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