For the first time in Quebec, Le Journal publishes a completely new ranking to compare the performance of CEGEPs in terms of graduation.
Only a third of CEGEP students graduate on time, a situation that has persisted for decades and has been denounced by experts.
The rankings that make up the Palmares des cegeps – presented in a special notebook in our Saturday edition – are based on the graduation rate two years after the planned duration of studies, i.e. after four years for pre-university programs and after five years for technical programs.
It is the preferred indicator by the Ministry of Education. Taking these two additional years into account, the graduation rate hovers around 64%.
If we only consider students who manage to graduate on time, either in two years for a pre-university program or three years for a technical program, this figure drops to … 34.6%.
“It is nonsense,” said Simon Larose, professor at the Faculty of Education at Universite Laval. We are in a system that allows the vast majority of students to take more time than the two or three years provided for in the program. We have to rethink the system. ”
For her part, the professor specializing in the economics of education at UQAM, Catherine Haeck, simply cannot believe it. ” It shocks me! I have serious questions about the effectiveness of this system, “she says.
A “social phenomenon”
For the Federation des cegeps, this is rather a “false problem” linked first to a “social phenomenon” that is not specific to Quebec, says its president and chief executive officer, Bernard Tremblay.
More than half of CEGEP students now work more than 15 hours a week and it is not uncommon for a student to travel the world between two sessions, he notes.
Many CEGEP students are reorienting themselves during their studies since almost a third of them will opt for a program change which will inevitably have an impact on the duration of their studies.
The CEGEP was designed to allow these passages to prevent young people from getting stuck in formations that do not interest them, an “opening” deemed by many to be “admirable”, according to Tremblay.
Duration of the DEC to rethink
At the Federation des cegeps, we admit, however, that the duration of certain technical programs would have to be rethought.
“The DEC has lasted three years for 50 years, but the reality is that the skills have become more complex and that the college course is much more difficult than before. We have DECs that should be done in three and a half or four years, ”says its president and chief executive officer.
It is not uncommon to suggest that students reduce their course schedules in certain particularly demanding technical programs, especially if young people are working, says Tremblay.
♦ In our edition yesterday, we wrote that Dawson College welcomes 40% of French-speaking native speakers. It should have been read that it has 40% of French-speaking students, including French-speaking allophones thanks to the effects of Bill 101. We apologize.
The portrait has already been worse
Contrary to what one might think, the proportion of CEGEP students who complete their studies on time is relatively stable over the years, even if students are now more likely to combine work and studies or to travel the world between two sessions. During the 1980s, this figure even fell below 30% for a period of almost five years.
A college student who prolongs his studies because of a schedule reduction or a trip abroad will not cost the Quebec government more. The situation is different in the event of a change of program or failure.
Since funding in the college network varies depending on the number of students and the number of courses in which it is enrolled, a CEGEP student who decides to take fewer courses per session does not entail additional costs for public finances, indicates- we at the Federation of CEGEPs.
In case of failure, the bill is higher, however, since the student must resume classes. However, it is impossible to determine the proportion of school failures that are responsible for prolonging college studies, as well as the costs associated with them. These data are not compiled by the Ministry of Education or the Federation des cegeps.
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