Psychology PhD students in the province are on strike or will be on a day this week. A protest is also scheduled Wednesday before the National Assembly to denounce the lack of scholarships of $ 25,000 promised by Quebec to graduates who do their internship mandatory 1600 hours. The cabinet of the Minister of Education and Higher Education argues that “the measure was poorly conceived” by the Couillard government and promises a revision of the program.
The agreement reached between the Liberal government and doctoral students in psychology in December 2016 provided for the establishment of 250 scholarships of $ 25,000 to be distributed among universities starting in the fall of 2017 for internships in the public sector, parapublic and community.
This agreement was reached after more than four months of boycotting internships and internships by doctoral students in psychology, and following the recommendations of the Granger report (Luc, former president of the Quebec Order of Psychologists). It recommended that financial support in the form of bursaries be granted to graduates in Quebec psychology.
Luc Granger noted in his report that the length of studies (at least seven years in university) and the student debt level militated in favor of this financial support for psychology interns, who perform 80% of a psychologist’s task. In the only other profession that requires such lengthy studies, medicine, “state financial support comes to the residence,” Granger recalled.
Now, at the beginning of the year, we learned that universities, namely Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Laval University, had no money to honor the scholarships promised for 2019-2020. . At Laval University, for example, only 36 scholarships would be available, for a potential of 56 interns.
At the University of Sherbrooke, there would be only 13 and a half scholarships available out of a potential of about thirty people who could ask for them. Due to this lack of funds, the school announced that it was counting on voluntary withdrawals and then drawing lots to distribute the remaining scholarships.
According to this principle of random selection, two graduates in psychology who practice in the same environment and do the same job, only one would be paid, denounces the Interuniversity Federation of Doctoral Students in Psychology (FIDEP), which judges the situation “unacceptable “. “The graduates are in panic. They are in great distress, “reports his spokesman, Nick Corriveau-Lecavalier. Already, for the current year, scholarships have been paid late because of the dealings caused by the lack of funds, deplores the FIDEP.
Mr. Corriveau-Lecavalier states that “it is difficult to obtain information on the way envelopes are distributed between universities”. “It’s not transparent. Is there an imbalance in the distribution, errors? “He asks. According to him, the ministry last week gave FIDEP the assurance that it would check “the numbers” with universities.
Strike and demonstration
Most psychology doctoral students in the province will be on strike all week, except for Université Laval, who opted for a single day of walkout, Wednesday, the day of the demonstration before the National Assembly. The members of the Association of Graduate Students of Psychology at Laval University also voted in favor of the boycott of the matching of internships for the year 2019-2020, which is scheduled to take place in April, and the boarding school for the year 2020-2021.
Recalling that the needs in psychology and neuropsychology are enormous in the public network, FIDEP demands that the problem of scholarships be solved quickly. All the more, she says, the government only finances 250 scholarships, while the Granger report reported an average of 265 interns in the public network between 2013 and 2016.
“The graduates [in psychology] are in panic. They are living in great distress »
– Nick Corriveau-Lecavalier, spokesperson for the Interuniversity Federation of PhD Students in Psychology
“In the medium term, we want the program to be revised, improved and more transparent, and in the longer term, we would like to be assured [of the Ministry of Health] that there will be positions in the network after the boarding schools, adds Nick Corriveau-Lecavalier, stating that a meeting between representatives of FIDEP and those of the cabinet of the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Jean-François Roberge, is scheduled for Wednesday.
According to Minister Roberge’s press secretary, Francis Bouchard, the scholarship program for doctoral students in psychology is “another poorly designed measure by the former government, which has obviously underestimated the needs”.
“This program will be reviewed as part of our ongoing work on compensation and internship supervision. The minister has also committed to submit scenarios by the end of April, “said the Sun Mr. Bouchard.