The Federation of Private Education Institutions believes that it would be to the advantage of young people in Quebec to allow communities to implement flexible back-to-school scenarios as soon as possible for high school students, while respecting the requirements of the Department of Public Health.
by David Bowles, President of the FÉEP
We believe that for the sake of the educational success and academic perseverance of our high school youth after an absence from school of more than five months, it is desirable that schools be able to adapt their operating methods to their needs. realities and those of their students. Schools are able to implement flexible models where students could benefit from being in class for a certain number of days, while benefiting from distance education the rest of the week. Other schools might only require certain students to attend class, while other students would receive distance education. For students with academic difficulties and those with learning disabilities, as well as for Secondary 1 students who will be starting secondary school after a chaotic end of the school year in Grade 6, the need to be in class is often more important. Remember that in Quebec private secondary schools, more than 18 % students have an intervention plan and need more sustained support which can be more difficult to do remotely.
Educational research almost unanimously concludes that the most important factor in student success is the emotional bond they develop with their teachers, which is commonly referred to as the teacher effect. The same research shows that a long break from school is harmful to student success. These two factors are even more true for students with academic difficulties. It is therefore essential not to prolong even further the harmful impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on the success and perseverance of our young people and, as far as possible, to find the optimal solution specific to each environment to ensure the well-being and student success.
Since mid-March, private schools have experimented with different forms of distance education. We believe, very humbly, to have done so in an efficient, innovative and rigorous way. We can retain certain observations, of which the absolutely capital importance that teachers can establish a link with the pupils and accompany them directly, even in a model of distance education. On the other hand, having lived through it for more than two months already, we believe that for high school students, especially for students in difficulty who might feel demotivated and tempted to drop out, it is essential that they be able to benefit from direct support, in person, whenever possible. If it is not possible in September to accommodate all the students at the school at the same time, we must allow us to implement flexible models. This is achievable and more than desirable.
This health crisis must not become an educational crisis and lead to a high dropout rate. This would, in our opinion, be completely unacceptable.