The school mess.

Author:Parizeau, Jacques
Position::EDUCATION - Graduation rate - Viewpoint essay

At the beginning of the summer, the Ministry of Education published a document entitled Resultats aux epreuves uniques de juin 2007 et diplomation (June 2007 test results and granting of diplomas). It is a compilation of the results of end-of-high-school graduation exams set by the ministry.

One section of this document attempts to answer the question: what proportion of students entering high school in a given year (for example, the 2000 cohort) graduated after five years (in 2005 for the 2000 cohort)? The diplomas under consideration are obviously the Secondary School Diploma and the Diploma of Vocational Studies.

As not all students succeed on their first try, it also publishes the proportion who graduate six and seven years after beginning high school.

It only takes youths into account; it excludes adults aged 20 and over. In 2007, for all of Quebec, 59 per cent of the 2002 cohort had graduated after five years. The proportion was slightly higher (61 per cent) for the 2000 and 2001 cohorts, but for the 1999 cohort it was the same. All categories of schools are included: private and public, English and French. This means that only three out of five young Quebecers complete high school without repeating a grade or dropping out.


But let's go further. We know that results for private schools are better than those for public schools. This can be explained by the fact that, unlike public schools, private schools can choose their students. For the 1999 cohort, 55 per cent of the students in public schools graduated after five years, compared with 80 per cent of those in private schools. For the 2002 cohort, the most recent for which there are figures, the gap is even wider: 53 per cent compared with 83 per cent. This is really frightening. But there is more. The figures I have cited so far show the combined results for anglophone and francophone students.

Let's now look at the results of the two groups separately, taking into account both public and private schools. For the 1999 cohort, 59 per cent of francophone students received their diplomas after five years, compared with 70 per cent of anglophone students. For the 2002 cohort, the corresponding figures are 58 per cent and 69 per cent.

Perhaps this difference is not significant. Under Bill 101, the children of immigrants must enroll in the French-speaking sector. Learning French might perhaps explain part of the difference. Let's continue with the public sector, and...

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