University of Quebec in Montreal Criminalizing Interns

Education Students Must Not Be Punished for Standing Up for Their Rights! They Teach -- Pay Them!

Demonstration by striking education science students, October 16, 2022, shortly after strike begins.

The Parti marxiste-léniniste du Québec (PMLQ) decries the decision of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) administration to punish students in education sciences who are fighting for internship and study conditions that allow them to decently and affordably complete their studies.

It is well known that students in Quebec face difficult conditions to complete their studies. They have to study and do unpaid internships while paying high fees in order to be able to complete their degrees so as to make a contribution to society. 

At UQAM, students in the Faculty of Education have been organizing themselves to put forward their demands to ensure that all students can study and complete their internships in acceptable conditions.

Various issues require action which favours the interests of the students. Even though the students actually teach, these are unpaid positions, on top of which the students are still expected to pay high fees. They have a difficult relationship with the university which does not respect their rights and their demands are not treated in a democratic manner in program committees. The cases of harassment in the internship environment and the lack of flexibility for teachers who are parents is increasing. These are not recent problems but this session the students said Enough Is Enough! and decided to strike to win their case.

On Thursday, November 17, in a general assembly the students decided to end their strike and finish their internships with their heads held high. However on Saturday, November 19, the UQAM administration decided to take revenge. In a vindictive manner it informed the students by email that those who went on strike would not be able to finish their internship, that their report cards would say they abandoned their course and they would have to resume their internship in the fall of 2023.

To use positions of power to punish students for fighting for their rights is unacceptable. For several years students who complete internships as part of their course requirements have been raising their concerns which the administration has not addressed. It is a broken democratic system. Punishing students for fighting for their rights to complete their studies in a manner which is affordable and takes their needs into account is cowardly and contemptible. The students are determined to make the UQAM administration recognize the students' internships and make the necessary arrangements to allow them to continue their studies in acceptable conditions.

This article was published in
Number 5 - November 22, 2022

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