Child abandonment is one of the main drivers of Gregory Charles’s relevant reflection on school, first expressed in The Press + April 24, then Everyone talks about it a week later. He asks so firmly for it to be better designed for them that he comes to propose the return of separate classes: the girls together, the boys by his side.
An unconvincing way of doing things, said education specialist Normand Baillargeon Everyone talks about it this Sunday, from numerous studies.
But then what, Charles insisted, do nothing and disappoint the boys?
However, school perseverance has raised eyebrows in Quebec for a long time, especially among boys. In 2003, the new Prime Minister Jean Charest raised this issue in his opening remarks. And Jacques Parizeau was very concerned about that in 2008.
In 1996, researcher Michel Perron co-founded the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean Regional School Dropout Prevention Council, which is still active today. Their approach has not changed: elected municipal officials and employers have a role to play in encouraging young people to stay in school. Since then, the initiative has flourished, leading to the creation of the Quebec Network for Educational Success (RQRE). Anti-abandonment projects have multiplied.
However, it is striking to see how Quebec still stands out from the rest of the provinces in terms of school attendance. Statistics Canada’s most recent data on this subject, which best allows for interprovincial comparisons, dates from the 2016 census, but it is surprising that data from the 2021 census – expected for next November – show a reversal of the trend.
We note that Quebec has the highest proportion of men between the ages of 25 and 34 (therefore not of the generations before the Quiet Revolution!) Who do not have a high school diploma. They represent 11.5% of this age group: more than one in 10 young people! Manitoba ranks second, with 8.9% of undergraduates.
As for young Quebeckers, 6.2% did not finish high school, half as many as men. However, they rank third on the Canadian non-graduate list, where they are just ahead of young women in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
How can these bad results be explained? The other provinces practice co-education as much as here, and the approach of teachers is not so different from one end of Canada to the other!
This brings us back, then, to conditions outside of school, first and foremost to the weight of history.
As early as 1871, Ontario opted for compulsory school attendance; British Columbia and Prince Edward Island soon followed, one in 1873 and the other in 1877. The other provinces followed so well that in 1910 school was compulsory everywhere except in Newfoundland. would arrive in 1942, and in Quebec, to take the rear in 1943.
Not only was it too late, but we must see the discourses against “education,” both of the clergy, which weigh so heavily in Quebec, and of many elected officials, and which have endured. There has also been some distrust of intellectuals in public space.
And then all this is so recent: even today, many students are the first in their families to attend CEGEP or university. However, family influence is crucial to clinging to school.
This was confirmed once again at the beginning of the school year, in a Léger survey commissioned by the RQRE to check the extent of the pandemic among students aged 15 to 22. We learn that one in three young people has thought about dropping out of school, an impressive proportion. What motivated them to continue? Their parents answered 57% of the young people. Follow a teacher, friend, or close adult.
But 11% of young people surveyed found that no one around them helped them to persevere in their studies, and half of young people believe that society does not do enough to encourage them to study. There is something to think about beyond the walls of schools.
In addition, even without a high school diploma, boys are able to find a relatively paid job, which clearly differentiates them from girls without a diploma. Specifically, they they will find truckers or cooks, or work in the field of construction; they they will be housewives, cashiers or waitresses. Statistics Canada notes that this list, well written and with real wage gaps, has hardly changed since … 1990.
Economist Ruth Rose even showed that in Quebec, in 2016, a man without a diploma earned on average more than a woman who had finished high school. And the average hourly wage of a high school graduate was higher than that of a female college graduate.
Thus, we can conclude that women have very real reasons for wanting a diploma, and that men are not so financially lost for not having one! Much more than the mixture of classes or the lack of enthusiasm of the teachers, it is likely that it is in the first place this economic argument, coupled with the absence of family impetus and a certain social indifference, which colors the relationship with the school dropout.
The current need for labor will not make things better. It’s a vicious circle: now we demand services at all times, so employers are looking to hire workers without being too demanding, and non-graduates are slipping into it, proving that you can succeed without school …
That the calculation is wrong in the long run, both for the individual and for the community, is irrelevant: Quebec is also characterized by its lightness in projecting into the future, destroyed heritage and lack road maintenance, schools, etc. hospitals …
Yes, it is a total lack of social vision that hides under the stop!