Public kindergarten: Roberge not for entrance tests

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge pays lip service to public school kindergarten entrance tests, but has no intention of intervening to end this practice, which falls under school service centers.

• Also read: A 4-year-old girl is rejected after a public kindergarten entrance test


Little Frédérique could not attend the same public school as her big brother because she failed the entrance exam for the 4-year kindergarten.  We see her with her father Louis-Michel Langevin on Thursday.

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

Little Frédérique could not attend the same public school as her big brother because she failed the entrance exam for the 4-year kindergarten. We see her with her father Louis-Michel Langevin on Thursday.

The newspaper reported on Friday that a 4-year-old girl will not be able to attend the same public school as her big brother next year because she failed the admissions process, a situation denounced by her parents.

In this Quebec school, the international education program is taught to all students, while other institutions offer the same education without selection.

“Selecting pupils from kindergarten, separating siblings and choosing access to a primary school, incidentally on the public network, should not be a preferable option. This decision now lies with the school service center. The school service centers are responsible for school organization and the allocation of students to the schools in their area,” Minister Roberge said in a written statement to the protocol Friday.

For PQ MNA Véronique Hivon, this is a “very clear and concrete illustration” of a “dysfunctional three-tier education system that we can no longer tolerate”.

“Getting a four-year-old to pass the entrance exams to go to the local school is unimaginable. That’s the opposite of what public schools should offer,” she says.

Minister Roberge’s reaction “adds insult to injury,” adds Mme Hivon. “If he doesn’t find it desirable, he should say so clearly and change things. That’s what politics is for,” she interjects.

Mme Hivon believes Quebec is ripe for a major project aimed at ironing out inequalities in education.

A “handshake” to correct

For her part, Liberal MP Marwah Rizqy denounced an “administrative sleight of hand that the education minister should correct.”

The practice is legal, according to the ministry. A school may offer a special selection program at a public school provided it also offers the regular program, which is open to all.

However, the Monseigneur Robert school is one of the buildings of the Harmony school, an administrative structure that includes another establishment located 1.6 kilometers away, the Saint-Édouard school, where the regular program is free.

“To pretend that two schools 1 mile apart are ‘one’ and the same school: that’s a fallacy! Children have the right to attend their neighborhood school,” Mr.me Rizqy on social networks.

The school service center Première-Seigneuries “exaggerates the interpretation of the same school,” she specified to the protocolwhile denouncing the existence of admission tests from the age of four on the public network.

For her part, solidarity officer Christine Labrie denounces “school segregation” within the public network.

Instead, Quebec Solidaire proposes to ban schools “that receive public funds” from choosing their students and make certain programs free to ensure “equal opportunities”, as it indicated in a publication published on social networks.

The Center de services des Premières-Seigneuries explains that because of the parents’ great interest in this training, this special program is offered to all students in the area and is not reserved for students in the neighborhood.

The number of applications for this program is twice as high as the number of places available.

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