Friday, September 29, 2023

Great interview with Marwah Rizqy | “You have no excuses not to succeed”

As Quebec faces an unprecedented teacher shortage, Marwah Rizqy has a candidate to propose for a substitute position: Education Minister Bernard Drainville.

This is what the liberal deputy answers when asked what Bernard Drainville should do to make his mandate “a success.”

He has to go to school, but “not just to take photos,” he specifies. “The day you have a boss by your side, no one is going to tell you anything,” she says in a whisper, to illustrate her point.

According to her, this could “perhaps allow you to understand the reality (of the school staff) on a day-to-day basis, the dynamics of a class, the dynamics of school management and all the fires that need to be put out.”

Next month will mark five years since Marwah Rizqy became spokesperson for the official opposition in Quebec on education; It will also be one year since Bernard Drainville was minister.

The deputy is the parliamentarian who, in Quebec, has made education a priority the longest. That’s why he wanted to meet her and receive her suggestions on network topics.

When he talks about substitute teaching, they are not empty words. In 2021, she did it herself for a full week in a fifth grade class at an elementary school in her neighborhood. She then returned there every Monday for a few months (she does not have a teaching degree, but she was a professor at the University of Sherbrooke for five years).

She says the experience changed her perspective.

Marwah Rizqy also owes her deep knowledge of network issues to the mix of enthusiasm and determination with which she approaches all her files.

Furthermore, when he talks about it he is inexhaustible. It offers us a whole series of facts, enhanced by data, enriched by examples, presented at a speed that sometimes recalls the brio of Louis-Josée Houde.

“I talk a lot,” she responds to photographer Robert Skinner, who calls her in the middle of the interview.

He didn’t think she talked too much, he just wanted to warn her that she had a leak.

“My hair is like me: it’s not tame,” she says, laughing.

It is true that Marwah Rizqy is a real breeze.

But at the same time it is one of the followers, in Quebec, of transpartisan initiatives. She explains to me that she is inspired by Véronique Hivon, a former PQ deputy recognized for her collaborative spirit, with whom she has already partnered.

He learned lessons that he says he expounds on in his educational archives.

“In politics, this can quickly turn into a cockfight and then we forget the essentials. In education, the main thing is the success of the students. But for the student to be successful, the entire network must be successful,” she states.

So what, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge of all in ensuring student success right now? “It’s about stopping everyone. From teachers to principals, support staff to support professionals. »

Remember that between 20% and 25% of teachers leave the network in the first five years. Above all, it is them we should try to retain instead of remembering those who have retired, he thinks.

As ? She suggests three possible solutions:

First, ensure that faculty obtain tenure within a reasonable time frame.

Then, offer these teachers the professional resources (speech therapists, remedial teachers) that their students need.

Finally, review the composition of the class with the aim of lightening the teachers’ tasks. “We must realize that with the number of students with disabilities or social maladjustment or learning difficulties (EHDAA) that has increased, we cannot necessarily continue with the same proportions. »

That is why he suggests that Minister Drainville “participate in the negotiations” underway for the renewal of collective agreements.

Marwah Rizqy also has solutions to propose to alleviate the problems created by the three-speed school.

The concept is anything but a fantasy, he states categorically, contradicting Minister Drainville on this issue.

Apart from the government saying there is no three-speed system, everyone agrees that the system is three-speed.

Marwah Rizqy

There is the private, the public and the public with particular educational projects. And it is this last speed that especially irritates him.

He also presented a bill last February to make all special educational projects free in the province’s primary and secondary schools.

“If a young man discovers himself in high school and wants to try soccer, but they are told that the entrance fee is $2,000 and that his parents do not have it, he will not be able to try it. If he wants to try basketball for $3,000, he won’t be able to try it,” he denounces.

“We are taking away opportunities from these children with such exorbitant amounts. »

As I take stock of the health of the educational network with Marwah Rizqy, I cannot help but remind her of the budget restrictions imposed by the Liberal Party a few years before the CAQ took power.

“I understand. And I’ve said it before. But that can’t be the excuse,” he replies.

We are in the fifth year (of the CAQ government). They had record budget surpluses. It had never happened in history, during a change of government, that the coffers were so full.

Marwah Rizqy

“When you have almost 7 billion dollars in the coffers, you have no excuses not to get it,” says the woman, who remains convinced that the situation in the educational field has deteriorated in recent years.

He cites in particular the growing shortage of qualified teachers.

“The CAQ motto was do more, do better. I look back five years later and it’s worse! »

He thus invites Minister Drainville to collaborate more with the opposition parties during the rest of his mandate.

“I think we have no choice in education, the challenges are too great. It is a huge ocean liner that must be turned around. And the more of us rowing in the same direction, the more we will get there together. »

In education, the main thing is the success of the students. But for the student to be successful, the entire network must be successful.

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