Parti Québécois defends value of CEGEP system

The PQ's youth wing is rejecting an idea floated by the president of the Young Liberals to abolish the CEGEP system.

Léo Bureau-Blouin says CEGEP a valuable experience for many Quebecers

Léo Bureau-Blouin, president of the PQ's youth wing, says CEGEP is a valuable step for Quebec students in their pursuit of higher education. (File photo/Radio-Canada)

The Parti Québécois’s youth wing is rejecting an idea floated by a member of the Quebec Young Liberals to abolish the CEGEP system in favour of technical schools.

Léo Bureau-Blouin, president of the PQ’s youth wing, was ardent in his insistence the Quebec government pay no mind to the proposal.

On Friday, CBC News spoke to Nicolas Perrino, the president of the Liberals’ youth wing.

He said he would float the idea at this weekend’s Young Liberals convention at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que., which Premier Philippe Couillard is attending.

Instead of CEGEPs, Perrino said, he wants to see large, prestigious technical schools throughout the province.

"The needs of the 21st century are not met with the CEGEPs right now. They were good in the 1960s when our parents were baby boomers, but we don’t believe it’s good for us anymore," Perrino said. on Friday.

CEGEP not a waste of time

Bureau-Blouin shrugged off Perrino’s claims that attending CEGEP was a waste of time for Quebec students.

Young Liberal Nicolas Perrino says CEGEPs have run their course and should be replaced with technical schools. (CBC)

CEGEP is neither useless nor a waste of money, he told The Canadian Press. On top of that, he said, the post-secondary experience allows students to better choose their education and career paths by giving them a solid general knowledge base.

The post-secondary school system was created in the 1960s to help curb dropout rates and to promote the pursuit of higher education.

He also said that getting rid of CEGEPs would mean that students living in the regions without a university would be forced to leave home at an earlier age than they already do.

Premier Couillard has said in the past that he opposes the idea of abolishing the CEGEP system.

Education Minister Yves Bolduc, meanwhile, is looking at a major curricular and financial reform of both CEGEPs and universities.

With files from La Presse Canadienne

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