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Schools invited to propose innovative projects for distance education

The Quebec Ministry of Education (MEQ) invites school service centers to set up projects to continue experimentation with distance education in different contexts. Schools will be able to propose projects throughout the year.

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The Quebec Ministry of Education (MEQ) invites school service centers to set up projects to continue experimentation with distance education in different contexts. Schools will be able to propose projects throughout the year.

During the last year, distance education was exceptionally authorized by the government of Quebec due to the health emergency measures in force in the province. However, the Education Act (article 459.5.3) does not allow this in “normal” times. At the time of this writing, the emergency measures are still in effect. On the other hand, it is expected that they will be lifted by the start of the next September, since a return to class of all students is planned.

Distance education, which was already very present in college and university education, made its way into elementary and secondary schools during the pandemic. It is now a practice that some establishments may wish to continue and put in place in a more sustainable manner.

It can be particularly useful for students who have chronic health problems, who are convalescing at home for long periods, for student-athletes who must be absent from school frequently, etc. It can also allow schools to offer a variety of course choices to their students or to experiment with new collaborative teaching practices.

In order to allow school service centers that so desire to continue to offer distance training in certain contexts, the MEQ invites the submission of pilot projects. These could take place between 2021 and 2024. They could then be extended by two years.

The MEQ's call for innovative projects is accompanied by a budgetary measure (50 764) which makes it possible to finance the acquisition of the technological equipment and software necessary for the realization. Training in the use of equipment or the implementation of new practices will be covered by another budget measure already in place (15084).

The projects submitted must meet certain standards:

  • The student is at another location (sports complex, home, etc.) or in another educational institution than the teacher offering the course;
  • The education provided allows students to continue their learning at a distance and promotes their academic success;
  • The chosen teaching method has been shown to meet the needs of the participating students;
  • School personnel are actively involved in a process to document the project;
  • An annual experimentation report is sent to the MEQ;
  • The establishment itself offers distance training;
  • The express consent of school personnel and each student or parent, if applicable, must be obtained unless otherwise provided for by emergency health measures.

A measure stemming from the digital action plan (PAN)

This desire to experiment and innovate in distance training for general training for young people was already present at the MEQ before the pandemic. In fact, it is Measure 19 of the Digital education action plan - Promote the deployment of distance education in primary and secondary education. 

It is in this context that the national service of STORY in distance learning (RÉCIT FAD) was created in 2018 to support distance education in primary and secondary education (in the youth sector, in the adult sector and in vocational training).

Since February 2021, seven school service centers were already experimenting with technological equipment facilitating distance learning. Equipment has also been deployed in primary and secondary schools to enable so-called commodal education (both for students in class and at a distance). 

To find out more about the MEQ's call for projects, schools that have not already received the forms are invited to write to: projetfad@education.gouv.qc.ca 

The MEQ also held a information webinar on May 28 on pedagogical approaches in the context of distance education. 

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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