Half of the CEGEPs in the province are overflowing and the expansion projects announced in the budget are not enough to accommodate all the students expected in the coming years.
According to data presented in the latest Quebec Infrastructure Plan, 24 out of 48 public colleges have a “theoretical space deficit”. Their size does not allow them to meet the standards of the Ministry of Education based on the number of students admitted.
The lack of space is already felt in Laval, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Montreal, but affects a total of ten regions, including Capitale-Nationale and Outaouais (see below).
And that was just the beginning. According to forecasts by the Ministry of Higher Education, more than 30,000 additional students will come knocking on the doors of public CEGEPs by 2029, an increase of almost 20% over 10 years.
However, these are very conservative forecasts, according to Martin Maltais, professor of financing and education policies at UQAR, who has carefully analyzed these data.
“We still underestimate real growth,” he said, based on demographic data from the Quebec Institute of Statistics.
In the latest PQI, the Legault government added five CEGEP expansion projects, for a total of seven now being studied.
Two more projects are in the planning stage: the expansion of Cégep Maisonneuve in Montreal and the construction of a new pavilion in Cégep de Drummondville.
However, for Mr. Maltais, it is “clear” that projects in the area will “not be sufficient” to meet demand.
The story is similar on the side of the Fédération des cégeps, which recalls that colleges of the greater Montreal region have “repeatedly” launched a “cry of alarm” in this regard.
Its president and chief executive officer, Bernard Tremblay, was pleased with the “coup de barre” Quebec had issued in the study of several expansion projects, but recalled that it would have to wait many years before they materialized in a shovel of lupa.
In the meantime, we need to turn to “temporary” solutions, even if they are far from ideal, he added.
Renting space and prefabricated units – the famous “caravans” we’ve seen emerge in elementary and secondary schools in recent years – are part of it.
“I don’t see how we can avoid that,” he said.
More “creative” solutions are possible, such as partnerships with companies or health networks, but the construction of new facilities remains important, Mr. Tremblay added.
The French network benefits from the abandonment of the Dawson expansion project
The abandonment of the Dawson English-speaking college expansion project, in Montreal, makes it possible to partially fund projects to add space under study at some French-speaking CEGEPs.
This was confirmed in the Journal of the Minister of Higher Education, Danielle McCann. “It’s certain that the money planned for Dawson will be used to fund at least five CEGEPs in the greater Montreal area,” he said.
The exact cost of expansion projects at French -language colleges is not yet known, but the $ 189 million initially allocated for Dawson College “helps fund” other projects in the French -language network, he added. .
To justify the abandonment of the controversial Dawson College expansion project, Quebec has already indicated that growth in French-speaking CEGEPs will be stronger than expected now that the Legault government has shut down the number of venues available on the college network in English until 2029.
For Martin Maltais, professor at UQAR, it was a good decision.
“The increase in workforce that happens in college is educated mainly in French,” he underlined, hence the interest in prioritizing the development of the Francophone college network.
-In collaboration with Patrick Bellerose.
National Capital: three of the five CEGEP
Center-du-Quebec: one of two CEGEP
Chaudiere-Appalaches: one of the three CEGEP
Lanaudiere: two of the three CEGEP
Laurentians: the two CEGEPs in the region
Laval: the only CEGEP in the region
Monteregie: four of the seven CEGEP
Montreal: seven CEGEP to twelve
Outaouais: two of the three CEGEP
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean: one of four CEGEP
Source: Quebec Infrastructure Plan 2022-2032