Education Conference: Legault Wants 4-18 Year Olds in School


 24 April 2016

The CAQ Leader, François Legault, is keen on giving families the opportunity to send their children to school a year sooner. He has spoken in favor of school attendance for all young Quebecers, between 4 to 18 years of age. Legault made this statement during the Conference for Quebec’s Success, a non-partisan event organized and hosted by the CAQ member for Chambly, Jean-François Roberge.

In a speech given during the event, François Legault explained that he wants to make pre-kindergarten available, to all children in Quebec, at four years of age. Much like kindergarten for 5 year olds, this service should be available but not mandatory. The CAQ Leader also wants to develop a strategy of implemented measures, aiming to ensure that young Quebecers stay in school until they turn 18, or until they obtain a diploma.

“Junior kindergarten at 4 years of age is important! It is the best method for the early detection of problems such as language delays and learning difficulties”, he stated; basing himself on numerous works and examples from abroad. He insists that an early detection of problems encountered by Quebec’s youth is vital in the fight against school dropout.

We are facing a scourge which affects one boy out of four in Quebec; Mr. Legault believes that a series of measures are necessary to ensure that Quebec’s students, who did not obtain a diploma, would stay in school until the age of eighteen. “If in Quebec the legal age is 18, I don’t see why a minor can take a decision, on his own, to leave school at 16. Dropping out of school is a major decision!” he continues.

Throughout the conference, many experts and representatives from different education circles, exchanged ideas for a potential 4 to18 year old school attendance program. Some of the main ideas were: Coaching and school counselling for every student, in effect from the beginning of high school; emphasizing on professional programs; active involvement of youth employment centres (CJEs), to follow the cases of potential school dropouts, and to ban employers from scheduling minors who aren’t attending school during regular class hours, as is practiced in Ontario.

The MNA Jean-François Roberge, who coordinated the event, believes that such input is crucial to the public debate in Quebec. “More than ever, we need to build an arsenal to fight against school dropout. I am ever more so convinced, after listening to the experts and leaders of our academic system in this non-partisan forum. In the upcoming months, I sincerely hope for all political parties to debate on the proposals that were discussed today, and to adopt many of them. One thing is certain, the CAQ will make school attendance, for 4 to 18 year olds, a central focus of its political commitment!” he concluded.

Let us note that earlier this month, Jean-François Roberge launched his new book: What If We Reinvented Schools? The Chronicles of an Idealistic Teacher, a Quebec America publishing.

(Et si on réinventait l’école? Chroniques d’un prof idéaliste, aux éditions Québec Amérique).