Dropping out of school: from prevention to reintegration, there are solutions!

By: Nancy Therrien, collaboratrice

Dropping out of school has been a troubling reality for many years in Québec. While over time the situation seemed to be getting better, the COVID-19 pandemic has made those numbers rise once again. In high school, one third of the students are at risk of failing.

Young Montréalers more affected than the rest of the province.

Dropping out of school affects Montréal students more significantly than those in the rest of the province. In 2018, the dropout rate in Montréal was 16,3% compared to 13,6% for the rest of Québec.  The health measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 (school closings, remote learning...) could worsen the situation.

Faced with an increase of dropouts and school failures, many organizations continue to work to support parents and steer students back to school or on the job market.

Organizations for dropout prevention

Organizations recognized by the Programme d’action communautaire sur le terrain de l’éducation (PACTE) work hard within communities to prevent dropouts. Qualified counselors, particularly in psychosociology, help students at risk of dropping out or wishing to go back to school. These counselors talk with the youth and try to offer solutions tailored to the needs of each of them. These organizations offer valuable assistance, whether it is for preventing dropouts or reintegrating students back into the school system.

The SEUR project (Sensibilisation aux études, à l’université et à la recherche)

Implemented by the Université de Montréal, the SEUR Project encourages the academic perseverance of high school and college students by allowing them to explore various education and career opportunities.  

The project is divided into different programmes, such as School Perseverance with which many schools in the Greater Montréal area collaborate. There is also a programme, Douance, for gifted students who statistically have more chances of dropping out of a traditional school setting. However, they only work with associative or school groups, and do not provide one-on-one coaching or consultations.

The SEUR Project has partnered with 15 schools on the Island of Montréal. Click here for the list.

Schools for returning students  

 Dropping out is not irreversible! After dropping out, thousands of young people choose to go back. More mature and struck by the realities of the job market, they better understand the importance of finishing high school. To make returning easier, certain schools make sure to accommodate their particular needs. Whether it is a youth with substance abuse problems, or a young mother, there is a place for everyone.

For example, the Motivation Jeunesse education programme, in partnership with Motivation-Jeunesse 16/18, is available for youth 16 to 18 who wish to go back to school. They can study French, English and math or even do an internship within a work place.

Certain schools, such as École secondaire Lucien-Pagé, offers a personalized path to learning which allows students to strengthen their knowledge from primary and high school while getting their specific needs met.

Youth employment programmes for dropouts

The work-study balance may be a good alternative, whether for acquiring work experience with the goal of entering the job market, or rather, going back to school. Certain organizations have arrangements with companies from various sectors including the construction and food trades.

Certain organizations have implemented a “getting in back-to-school shape” service for youth 16 to 35 who are considering exploring the education system and going back to school. The goal is to offer personalized services that allows them to strengthen their motivation and perseverance while guiding them towards better future prospects and success. A structured intervention plan is drawn up according to each participant's’ situation. Workshops or one-on-one activities are provided.

A student retention service is also available in certain Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi to encourage youth to stay in school or to go back. This service is aimed at 15- to 19-year-olds who are at risk of dropping out of high school or an adult education center or who have dropped out for less than 6 months. This service aims at helping them through their personal journey targeting staying in school or returning. They provide tailored support to encourage young dropouts to achieve their educational goals, to guide them towards resources adapted to their needs and to help them establish future goals.

To learn more, contact the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi in your area.

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