The director of HEC Montréal is high, as all the patrons of the universities of quebec, against the reform of the PEQ.
Federico Pasin directs HEC Montréal for the past six months. A school still popular with French students, as they represent more than 10% of 14 000 students enrolled - they are exactly 1547 this year to follow a degree course (bachelor, MSc, phd or MBA). In total, in what is the oldest business school of canada (founded in 1907), a third of the students are foreign. Much hope, if the experience is conclusive, to stay on-site once their diploma in hand.
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But the new immigration policy of the government of quebec has put a dent in that dream. On October 30, a decree changed profoundly in the famous Program of the quebec experience (PEQ), which offers foreign students a quick route to the Certificate of Selection of Quebec : it limited the access to a restrictive list of courses. What cause a furor among the young people. "After more than six years in Quebec, soon to be two degrees from the university of Montreal, I had the desire to stay, work and maybe one day to become a Canadian, wrote and Raphaëlle, who is originally from nantes, on his profile Facebook. All that for nothing..." On 5 November, during the question and answer period at the national Assembly of Quebec, the media have shown students in tears who came to attend to a barrage of opposition against this new decree.Your support is essential. Subscribe for $ 1 support Us
As to the directors of the 17 university institutions of the province, they have fallen from the top : "It was so surprising ! First, it was the revolt, and then the misunderstanding," says Federico Pasin, director of HEC Montréal, The Express was able to meet during his visit this week to Paris. The decree of the government, developed without consultation with stakeholders, was unanimously against him. On the list of training opening the way for the PEQ new formula, no curriculum in the social sciences or humanities. A lot of technical training, a reasonable number of bachelors (equivalent of the license, editor's NOTE), and very few master's degrees and doctorates.
"We understand that for the 'workers', the government wants a match immediately between the workforce and the needs, " says Federico Pasin, but for the 'students', it makes no sense to predict with certainty the skills that we will need tomorrow. Who would have predicted fifteen years ago that the artificial intelligence, or ecology would also be important ? Who would have imagined that a technology company such as Ubisoft is recruiting phd students in history to give depth to its games ?"
For the rectors of universities, there was only one solution : reject this decree of 30 October. They have multiplied the letters to the quebec minister of immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, called meetings, published forums in the press. The government is finally back on : 8 November, he announced the suspension of his reform project. On 12 November, the Prime minister François Legault has even presented its apology "for the work that has not been made as perfect as we would have wished".
Montreal well positioned in the imaginary student
Relief from academic leaders, as Federico Pasin : "It attracts foreign students by telling them that America is a land of welcome, that they are welcome and will have opportunities to obtain permanent residence if they want to stay. What better way to discover a country that in a student ? This allows you to 'test' his ability to live, his desire to integrate. Let's do our best then to remember because we have invested on these people ! Québec is facing the ageing of its population, so if you want to maintain a good proportion of assets with degrees recent, immigration is a royal way. Tackle immigration is to attack the economy."
The quebec government should now review the academic and economic. But Federico Pasin feared that the episode does not leave traces : "Despite the withdrawal of the decree, a lot of people will ask what is going to look like the new PEQ, it creates uncertainty", he complained. A shame, because the time is quite favourable : "In the imagination of the students, Montreal is competing now with Barcelona, Sydney, London and Paris," says the director of HEC Montréal. The city is way out in the top rankings because it concentrates several universities excellent level (McGill, Université de Montréal, Polytechnique, etc) and offers a very good quality of life.
"A highway is opened for Canada"
above all, at a time when the country rely on the universities to attract the best brains, the United States is penalized by the policy of Trump, the Great Britain suffers from the effect Brexit and Australia and is the victim of a social climate which is sometimes tinged with racism. Result : "A highway opens for Canada, that the English-speaking provinces will very well know how to take it," warns Federico Pasin. The universities of Toronto and Vancouver does not lack for attractiveness. But Quebec has two advantages : its language (which draws a francophone clients who wish to also practice his English), and its tuition fees are lower than the rest of the country.
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"Canada is doing everything possible to be the most welcoming as possible, it gets people from where they come from and we in Quebec, it would be going against the current ? It is impossible," says the director of HEC Montréal. His school wants to be open to diversity with an approach that is either French-speaking or multi-lingual (the bachelor programme can be followed in French, English and Spanish). She declines several of its master's degree programmes in English to enable non-native speakers (Koreans, Indians, Iranians, etc) to register and, at the same time, it plans to offer from September 2020 of French language courses to foreign students of its MBA.