Abandoning, alas, is cheap for the boys

The abandonment of children is one of the main drivers of Gregory Charles’ relevant reflection on school, expressed for the first time in The press + April 24, therefore Everyone talks about it one week later. He begs so strongly that it be designed better for them that he goes so far as to propose the return of separate classes: the girls together, the boys on their side.

An unconvincing way of doing things, retorted education specialist Normand Baillargeon Everyone talks about it this Sunday, based on numerous studies.

So what, Charles insisted, do we do nothing and let the boys down?

However, academic perseverance raised eyebrows in Quebec for a long time, particularly among boys. In 2003, the new Premier Jean Charest raised this issue in his keynote address. And Jacques Parizeau was very worried about it in 2008.

In 1996, researcher Michel Perron co-founded the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean Regional Council for the Prevention of Early School Leaving, which is still active today. His approach hasn’t changed: elected city officials and employers have a role to play in encouraging young people to continue attending school. Since then, the initiative has blossomed, leading to the creation of the Quebec Network for Educational Success (RQRE). Projects to combat early school leaving have multiplied.

However, it is surprising to see how Quebec still stands out from other provinces in terms of school attendance. The most recent Statistics Canada data on the subject, the ones that best allow interprovincial comparisons, date back to the 2016 census, but it would be surprising if those taken from the 2021 census – expected for next November – show a reversal of the trend.

We note that Quebec has the highest percentage of men between the ages of 25 and 34 (so not from generations before the Quiet Revolution!) Who don’t have a high school diploma. They represent 11.5% of this age group: more than one in 10 young men! Manitoba is in second place, with 8.9% of undergraduates.

As for the young women of Quebec, 6.2% have not finished high school, which is half of the men. However, they rank third on Canada’s list of undergraduates, where they are just ahead of young women from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

How can these poor results be explained? The other provinces practice co-education as much as they do here, and the teachers’ approach isn’t that different across Canada!

This therefore brings us back to the conditions outside the school, first of all 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, the other in 1877. The other provinces followed suit so well that by 1910, schooling was compulsory everywhere, except in Newfoundland, which would go there. in 1942, and in Quebec, which would raise the rear in 1943.

Not only was it very late, but one has to see the speeches made against “education”, both by the clergy, which weighs so heavily in Quebec, and by many elected officials, who persisted. There has also remained a certain distrust of intellectuals in the 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, the influence of the family is decisive for staying attached to the school.

This was confirmed once again at the beginning of the year, in a Léger survey commissioned by the RQRE to verify 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 prompted them to continue? Their parents answered 57% of the young people. Follow a teacher, friend, or adult close to him.

But 11% of young people surveyed found that no one around them has a positive influence to help them persevere in their studies, and half of the young people believe that society is not doing enough to encourage them to study. There is something to think about beyond the walls of the schools.

Furthermore, even without a secondary school diploma, boys manage to find relatively well-paid jobs, which clearly distinguishes them from girls without a degree. Specifically, They they will meet truck drivers or cooks, or work in the construction field; they they will be housekeepers, cashier or waiter. Statistics Canada points out that this well-typed list with real wage gaps has hardly changed since … 1990.

Economist Ruth Rose even showed that in Quebec, in 2016, a man without a degree 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 college graduate.

We can therefore conclude that women have very simple reasons for wanting a diploma and that men are not so financially distressed for not having one! Much more than the mix of classes or the teachers’ lack of enthusiasm, it is likely that this economic argument, combined with the absence of family encouragement and a certain social indifference, is most likely to color the school dropout report.

The current need for manpower will not make things better. It’s a vicious circle: We now ask for services all the time, so employers try to hire workers without being too picky, and non-graduates sneak in, proving you can be successful 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 when it comes to projecting itself into the future, destroyed heritage and lack of maintenance of roads, schools, hospitals …

Yes, it is a total lack of social vision hiding under the stall!

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