Frederick Florin Agence France-Presse In Quebec, only 41.6% of high school graduates in 2019 were young men.
Quebec must “do better” and increase the proportion of boys who obtain a high school diploma, maintains Eric Girard, who sees this as an obstacle to economic growth and catching up with Ontario.
In Quebec, only 41.6% of high school graduates in 2019 were young men. The Canadian average is 43.5%; in Ontario, 45.3%.
The problem is not new, concedes the Minister of Finance, but it is no less important.
“It’s is a social issue and we must do better,” he said during the economic update on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Finance highlights this issue in a document presenting avenues for developing the Quebec economy. The promotion of education is at the top of the list ahead of the increase in the number of workers and the need to make the business environment more competitive.
A challenge economic
The under-education of boys deprives the Quebec economy of valuable qualified workers who could otherwise meet labor needs, argues his ministry in a document presented on this occasion.
This document also reveals that the proportion of young Quebecers (girls and boys) finishing high school within the expected time frame is lower in Quebec than anywhere in the rest of Canada, i.e. 75% compared to 81% on average and 83% in Ontario (in 2018- 2019). When we look in detail, we see that in Quebec, 81% of girls had then graduated; among boys, it was more like 69%.
The Ministry of Finance estimates that Quebec could fill 27,000 jobs for skilled workers if it caught up with Ontario in terms of the graduation rate. This could have “a positive effect of $0.8 billion on household disposable income and $2.4 billion on real GDP,” he says.
The Legault government wants, by 2026, to reduce its gap with real GDP per capita in Ontario to less than 10%. The gap has narrowed in recent years, but it remains notable. It currently stands at 13.5%.
A gap also at the university
The former rector of the University of Montreal Robert Lacroix and colleagues have just published a work on the school perseverance of boys. The Ministry of Finance cites this in its documentation.
Mr. Lacroix’s team shows that the gap continues until university. She concludes that the origins of the gap go back to the perinatal period, i.e. the period around birth. They recommend that we intervene “from pregnancy and throughout early childhood” to prevent inequalities from being created.
Researchers further believe that it is necessary to identify children at risk and their provide more support, as already recommended by the State through the Agir early program launched in 2019.
In secondary school, they are calling for programs to fight against dropping out to be strengthened, particularly in terms of mentoring .