Seven months after a young Ukrainian hockey team captured the hearts of Canadians at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, six of the children who returned to the province to study and play hockey this year find themselves unable to go. to school.
Almost three weeks after arriving in Quebec City, they are still waiting for authorization from the Ministry of Education to study in English.
Sean Bérubé, the volunteer who coordinated the team’s participation in the tournament and who helped organize the children’s transfer abroad, says he is starting to worry about their academic success.
“The school year has started and by the time kids are able to join, they will be quite behind,” he said.
She says it has also been difficult for the children’s host families because they have had to rearrange their schedules during the day to be able to go to work.
The boys were expected to start the eighth grade at St. Patrick’s Middle School in the hockey program.
Bérubé says that all the procedures are ready, but the process seems delayed by a delay in the Ministry of Education.
In the meantime, he says he’s been paying out of pocket to rent ice time for the kids to practice and talking to some host families about a way to provide them with some homework.
“These are young people who haven’t been to in-person school for almost two years because of the war. It’s something they really miss and are eager to get started,” he said.
Large number of applications, according to the ministry
The children arrived in Quebec thanks to a special temporary visa offered by the federal government to Ukrainians fleeing the war. It allows them to study and remain in Canada until it is safe to return home.
However, in order to study at an English school in Quebec, children must be granted linguistic exceptions.
“It’s not that [the boys] I didn’t want to accept a francization program,” Bérubé said. St. Patrick’s was simply the only school in the Quebec City area that could accommodate them at any time in its elite hockey program.
He says the young players obtained their study permits when they arrived in Quebec, but are still waiting for their special authorization to attend school in English.
In a statement to Radio-Canada on Wednesday, the Ministry of Education said it is dealing with a “very large number of requests for eligibility to study in English,” adding that processing times are typically 10 business days.
“Ukrainian youth hockey players’ applications have been received and are complete,” spokesman Bryan St-Louis said in an email.
He said the analysis is expected to be complete by Sept. 26.
For his part, Bérubé affirms that the ministry has been very helpful throughout the process and has kept him informed.
“I hope and trust that this will be resolved soon,” he said.