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Promoting Academic Perseverance

Written by: Universitas

September 30, 2013

A total of 28,000 students drop out of school in Quebec every year. Almost one third of them will do so before reaching Grade 12. The situation is particularly serious among young male students and children from less privileged backgrounds.

Drop-Outs Among Young Male Students

While 21.5% of boys drop out of school, this proportion drops to 13.6% for girls. Why is this so? Although no single, conclusive answer can be given, several factors are constantly at play. The lack of male role models in the system, the significant reading and writing challenges facing today’s male students, the abundance of stereotypical and incorrect information associated with school and learning, the social origin; these are all likely causes with serious implications.

To help boys persevere, measures are to be taken at the most effective level from the earliest age by providing them with full support within all levels of schooling. Here are some tips that may help you make a difference:

  • Foster a love of reading in children (begin during early childhood) through material and subjects they relate to, such as sports, videogames, pop idols, etc.
  • Get to know your children’s friends; they have a much greater impact than you might think.
  • Encourage greater participation in fun activities to keep your children motivated throughout their academic path―sports, music and theatre activities are all good examples.
  • Provide positive reinforcement, every day, regardless of age.

Drop-out Rate Among Students From Less Privileged Backgrounds

It may sound like a basic premise, but there is evidence that young students from less privileged backgrounds are more likely to drop out before they reach Grade 12. And yet, many of those students show an interest in pursuing post-secondary education. They often have the talent, but they are lacking the financial and material means―and sometimes the family support system―to pursue their dreams.

In order to help, Educaide―an educational assistance fund―was founded in 2002 to offer financial support, in the form of perseverance scholarships, to students from less privileged backgrounds. This not-for-profit organization states three key objectives focusing on helping students:

  • Recognizing the merit (while taking into account the precarious situations of students);
  • Encouraging academic perseverance; and
  • Providing students with financial support and a complement to educational assistance fund programs.

With over $845,000 in scholarships paid out to some 700 deserving students, the financial support provided by Educaide yielded convincing results for a number of young recipients! In total, 85% of the scholarship holders obtained a first diploma.

The Positive Outcome of Academic Perseverance in Society

Pursuing post-secondary education has a positive impact on individuals and society at large; it also enables students to take advantage of a wider range of opportunities. Positive outcomes include:

  • increased employment accessibility;
  • a decrease in unemployment;
  • increased employment stability;
  • a higher salary (Quebec graduates have a yearly income level $10,000 to $23,000 higher than the drop outs’ average.);
  • greater participation in the democratic life; and
  • an overall positive impact on personal health and the global community.

It is in our best interest to embrace education as a fundamental value and promote academic perseverance! This strategy will result in a positive outcome not only on the lives of young students but also on society at large.

Sources:

Quebec’s Ministry of Education
Quebec Institutes of Statistics
Statistics Canada
Unions & Labour Organizations (in French only)
Federation of Teachers' Unions (in French only)
Educaide
Universitas Trust Funds
Academic Perseverance Day (in French only)
Departments of Education Across Canada

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