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Gatineau parents worry about learning gaps after weeks-long teacher strike | CBC News

For Jacqueline Comeau, it feels like September all over again.

Her daughter has been out of school for weeks, as the Quebec teachers’ strike that began in November dragged on.

Now, with classes set to resume, her daughter will have some catching up to do.

“It’s going to take some time to readjust,” Comeau said. “Everything’s going to be new again. It’s going to take more time, so they might miss out on some things they would have learned during the strike.”

Quebec’s Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), representing about 66,500 members, went on strike on Nov. 23.

Its leadership reached an agreement in principle with the government over the holidays, putting an end to the strike as the deal goes to a vote.

Mylène Lapratte from Gatineau, Que., said she worries about learning delays.

“We’re talking about five lost weeks,” she said in French. “So as a parent, yes, there are fears, but we’ll have trust and see how it goes.”

Another parent, Marie-Pier Martin, said it will be like a new back-to-school time for kids. But she has full confidence in the professionals who work in Quebec’s school system.

Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville is set to release a catch-up plan for 368,000 students affected by the strike. 

Annie Bérubé, a professor in the department of psychoeducation and psychology at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, hopes the plan doesn’t sacrifice children’s social needs.

“It would be a mistake to focus solely on academics,” she said. “It’s certain that children have missed a lot in terms of their lessons. But they’ve also missed a lot in terms of socialization.”

She said school is a place to form friendships and practice problem solving.

Bérubé said children learn quickly, and there’s plenty of time in a day for them to catch up on their lessons without cutting social and cultural activities, like field trips.

“School is a living environment for children, not just a learning environment,” she said.


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