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Gaétan Barrette says nursing licensing exams not his responsibility

02/09/2015 04:29 EST | Updated 04/11/2015 05:59 EDT
Quebec’s health minister said he’s not going to intervene on behalf of nursing candidates who failed the English version of the Quebec Order of Nurses' licensing exam last September.

In fact, Gaétan Barrette said he’s never even seen one of the exams.

He’s reacting after CBC News broke the story that the majority of nursing candidates who wrote the English exam on Sept. 22, 2014 failed.

Nursing students have said lousy translation is a key factor behind why students struggled with the English exam.

Information obtained by CBC News shows only 47.3 per cent of students who wrote the English version passed, compared to 78.7 per cent of candidates who wrote the French version.

But Barrette would not get involved in the debate around the exam.

"It’s always a concern to see something like that,” he said. "But this is a question that they need to address to the proper authorities … They are the ones who are writing the exams, not me.”

Barrette said he’s spoken with the Order of Nurses, and it told him there’s no problem with the translation.

The Order insists there was no translation problem with the exam. 

It has met twice with all English-language nursing schools to review parts of the exam.

"After meeting with the teachers, it's obvious for us that there's no reason to cancel the exam because the translation was not misleading. They should have been able to answer those questions," said Lucie Tremblay, president of the Order of Nurses.

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