Together with Claude Carroué of Education International, Daniel Lafrenière from the Centrale des syndicats du Québec examines the situation of education support personnel and their importance to students' education.
In the last programme broadcast by EdVoices, the series of podcasts produced by Education International (EI), Daniel Lafrenière, the secretary-treasurer of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), insists that education support staff must be recognised “as stakeholders of choice in the success of education within quality education”, because “these people directly support teaching staff in schools and places of higher education”.
He points out that education support staff represent 81 different job categories that are essential “for the educational success of the largest number of students”. This is a profession in itself, he says, a path they have chosen: “these are people dedicated to their duties”.
Asked more specifically about early childhood education, Lafrenière says that all education staff in this sector contribute to the educational development of children and have an impact on their future schooling.
“Education goes from early childhood to university,” he said, adding that, for the CSQ, “early childhood is the moment when children are stimulated through educational programmes”. He added: “It's not childcare, they are real educational projects that are implemented to prepare them for school and socialise them with other children.”
However, he criticises the current government in Canada for significantly reducing public sector funding and favouring private early childhood centres. Giving parents who opt for the private sector an undue advantage negatively impacts on the subsidised public arena. “We find it really upsetting to see governments favouring the private sector, with fewer standards, because we don't want to go back 10 years, when we had 'child-carers' with no educational programme, with neighbours or aunts looking after the children. We are lucky that we now have an early childhood system that includes a number of standards, with the obligation of offering an educational programme that is safe, and where children can count on qualified educators.”
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