THE ESTATES GENERAL
THE STATE OF EDUCATION
The Commission for the Estates
General on Education recently published its report entitled The State of
Education in Québec. The report outlines the main points raised by
the 2 000 participants in the public hearings held between May and October 1995.
The Commission considered that, in addition to reflecting what was said as faithfully
as possible, its role was to clarify the issues involved. It therefore also
submitted its own analysis of the different matters that were brought to its
attention. Each of the ten chapters deals with a specific theme and ends with
a series of questions. These questions will be used as the starting point for
discussions throughout the province during the next stage in the process, namely,
the regional conferences. This brochure briefly describes the main positions
and questions submitted for debate in The State of Education in Québec.
In the very first pages
of its report, the Commission issues a call for action to improve education
in Québec. It stresses the need to put our education system back on track
as regards access to education. This would entail developing early childhood
services, eliminating practices which compromise free education, reducing the
dropout rate, and more effectively meeting the needs of certain categories of
students, such as students from cultural communities, students from disadvantaged
areas, and students with learning or adjustment difficulties. More specifically,
the Commission is concerned that we do not have a true picture of the situation
in Montréal public schools.
The report highlights the
urgent need to redefine the respective responsibilities of all partners in the
educational process, whether in schools or in society. Students, parents, teachers,
and administrators are trying to define their roles, in keeping with their abilities
and their desire to get involved. All would like decision-making to shift from
the top of the pyramid to its base, in other words, from the ministère
de l'Éducation to educational institutions. Such a shift will likely
only be achieved through adjustments in the structure of the education system.
The Commission points out
some of the bad habits our education system has developed. The tendency to pass
problems along to the next level; a laissez-faire attitude with respect to the
supervision of individual study; the lack of a cultural dimension, without which
education is reduced to patchwork learning; laxity in terms of what is demanded
of students; and the lack of recognition for vocational and technical education_all
of these call for corrective measures.
The first chapter
of the report discusses the dissatisfactions and social changes which argue
for a reappraisal of the mission of our educational institutions.
The Commission believes
it is necessary to restate the ultimate goals of education and attempts to clarify
their main axes. With the proviso that these goals must be seen in the context
of lifelong education, they can be resumed as follows.
We must recognize that intellectual development and the teaching of basic skills
are part of the essential tasks of our schools, and that they in fact constitute
their main role and central axis.
Our schools must pass on to students the cultural heritage of the human
race as well as the values on which our society is based and that are simultaneously
an inspiration to surpass ourselves, a social cement and a set of guidelines
the exercise of various roles in society. Our schools must prepare students
to exercise their future roles as citizens, parents and workers and to redefine
these roles in response to changing realities.
One essential condition
for the attainment of these three goals is that schools provide a stimulating
environment. Schools cannot carry out the educational mission by themselves.
They must link up with partners outside the education community and agree with
them on their respective responsibilities in carrying out the educational mission.
The mission of higher education
includes a set of specific obligations in addition to education per se. They
concern the development of knowledge and of its applications through research
and technological and scientific transfer activities, and participation in community
development. In the case of universities, they extend to acting as a critic
of society. The Commission believes that it is now indispensable to conduct
an in-depth examination of the way in which the higher education mission is
currently being fulfilled. As for the college level, the fact that Québec's
college system is unique is not sufficient reason to conclude that it is not
valid. However, recurring questions about the system's validity point to a number
of problems. The Commission advances a number of hypotheses for change which
raise questions about the colleges' role in bringing secondary school graduates
up to standard, the relevance of establishing a five-year learning continuum
in coordination with universities, and the need for greater flexibility in program
With respect to the university
level, the Commissioners regret that the mission of providing instruction, especially
at the undergraduate level, does not receive all of the attention it deserves.
As for research, they worry about the risk of universities focussing only on
sponsored research geared to the needs of industry. They fear that the results
of such research cannot be used to train future scientists and that whole areas
of human and social activity are being neglected. They wonder whether certain
activities should not be entrusted to other bodies or whether each university
should have an individual mandate. They also wonder whether an overall policy
on research and ethics is needed.
Issues related to access
and educational success are examined in the second chapter. Although
Québec has made tremendous strides over the past few decades, the Commission
believes that efforts must be stepped up not only to increase access to education
but also to ensure students' success. It suggests setting clear objectives with
respect to accessibility and to the graduation rate for each level of education.
The Commission emphasizes that the desire to pursue an education must not be
undermined by a lack of financial resources. For this reason, it recommends
vigilance with regard to the charging of miscellaneous fees which could compromise
free education. Raising tuition fees at the university level could limit enrolment
and should be envisaged only with extreme caution. As for the student financial
assistance system, it must be maintained to ensure equal opportunity for all
members of society.
In another vein, the Commissioners
deplore that early childhood services are underdeveloped in Québec. They
see these services as providing an excellent environment for identifying problems
early on and for reducing disparities among children before they begin school.
The Commissioners are in favour of increasing the number of places available
in day care centres. In their opinion, kindergarten should be full time and
compulsory for 5-year-olds. For 4-year-olds, it should be optional and offered
on a half-day basis. It should also be available on a full-time basis for certain
groups of 4-year-olds, based on their needs.
As regards the dropout rate,
the report provides certain statistics to clarify the phenomenon, without trivializing
it. It highlights the wide disparities which exist between the various regions
of Québec in relation to perseverance. It also stresses the preoccupying
situation in Montréal schools and suggests giving them a special status
in the education system. The fact that, as early as secondary school, many students
devote several hours a week to paid work raises questions on the sometimes unacknowledged
social choice of using these young people in an increasingly precarious economy
rather than investing in their education. The time has come to emphasize the
value of schoolwork and of the student status and to place certain limits on
paid work by students. Also, students clearly need guidance and support in their
academic and career choices. It would seem that the services currently at their
disposal, particularly career choice education courses, could be advantageously
replaced by more personalized services, that it would be relevant to increase
students' awareness of the realities of the workplace, and that academic and
career counselling should be integrated in all of the school's activities so
that the school itself would be "guidance-oriented."
The report calls attention
to the needs of certain groups of students. From the viewpoint of the cultural
communities, the concern is not students' success so much as whether schools
are able to help students integrate. There is still no clear definition of the
common public culture into which these students should be integrated. Over 10
000 students at the elementary and secondary levels attend private ethnic and
religious schools and are therefore not integrated into the common public school.
Welcoming classes are located in schools where almost all students are of immigrant
origin. Contacts between schools and the parents of these students are still
too limited. Due to a lack of adequate training, teachers are poorly equipped
to deal with students from cultural communities. There is still no overall plan
to guide efforts in this area.
As for problems relating
to students with handicaps or learning or adjustment difficulties, they are
serious enough to merit special attention. At present, 12.6 percent of all students
enrolled in the school boards and 16.2 percent of students at the secondary
level experience these difficulties. Schools must therefore do everything in
their power to fulfil their obligations with regard to teaching these students
and helping them to function in society. Considerable progress has been made
with respect to their integration into regular classes since the adoption of
a policy to that effect in 1978. Such efforts should be pursued. Steps must
be taken to offer the services that are best adapted to the needs of these students:
diversified approaches and services are most appropriate for achieving these
Another problem that must
be addressed is the special situation of boys. The figures speak for themselves.
At the elementary level, 6.4 percent of boys repeat a grade compared with 4
percent of girls, while at the secondary level, 41 percent of boys leave the
youth sector without a diploma compared with only 28.7 percent of girls. Fifteen
percent more young women enter college, while 10 percent more enrol in bachelor's
programs. While there is still considerable progress to be made to allow girls
to achieve equality in many sectors, a society concerned with equal opportunity
and democracy cannot remain indifferent to the disparities noted today between
girls and boys in the education system. We must undertake studies to more clearly
identify the factors underlying the marked lack of interest of certain boys
in school if we want to avoid their being gradually excluded from school.
The third chapter
deals with the curriculum, or more precisely, with the way in which educational
objectives are reflected in the programs of study and with the emphasis placed
on the various disciplines in structuring these programs. Although certain programs
have undergone revisions over the years, the bulk of elementary and secondary
school programs have remained unchanged for at least 15 years. The Commission
believes it is time they were overhauled. Restructuring is called for, particularly
at the secondary school level, in order to make more room for subjects which
will provide a foundation for the desired enrichment of the curriculum's cultural
component. The Commission also feels that the level of general culture among
Québec youth should be raised through more sustained contact with fields
such as language, history and the arts. Based on what participants said at the
public hearings, the Commission is concerned about the fact that scientific
and technological education is not perceived as playing a central role in students'
general culture. In the Commission's opinion, the starting point for the modernization
of the curriculum should be the establishment of exit profiles identifying priority
learning areas and the desired level of student achievement in each of these
areas at the end of the various cycles and levels of education. In this regard,
the proposal contained in the report of the task force on learning profiles,
commonly referred to as the Corbo Report, appears to provide an interesting
basis. This proposal revolves around six major learning areas: methodology skills;
language; mathematics; life in society; science and technology; and physical
education and the arts.
The Commission favours the
model in place in many countries where the first nine years of studies are viewed
as common core education and possibilities are broadened from Secondary IV on.
As regards time spent in school, the Commissioners are convinced that student
achievement in the compulsory subjects can be improved only if more time is
devoted to the basic subjects and the student workload increased. The question
is whether this must necessarily translate into more time in school. Nothing
is less certain.
The Commission reaffirms
the goal set for the college level, namely, providing basic education. It is
aware of the social pressure to make pre-university education programs more
general. This adjustment to the initial orientation of gradual specialization
should be made more explicit and more widely discussed. Another major issue
relates to the continuity of education from one level to the next. Pre-university
education has no raison d'être except as a route to university; hence
it must be of a high enough level to distinguish itself from secondary-level
basic education. This implies that secondary school exit profiles must be brought
into line with college entry profiles and that better articulation is needed
between the college level and the levels of education below and above it in
order to create a continuum. Creating this continuum hinges on defining exit
profiles for each family of programs at the college level. These profiles must
take into account what is taught in the last two years of secondary school and
in the first years of university.
At the university level,
assuring the internal coherence of undergraduate programs seems to be problematical.
Some actually resemble course lists more than actual programs. This problem
is explained in part by the difficulty of reconciling the contradictory expectations
voiced by professional corporations, students and university authorities. Some
would like undergraduate programs to be more specialized; others would rather
have them prepare students for graduate studies. The universities will have
to find ways to better meet social demands, including those made by students.
The question is how: by adjusting their curricula and proposing different profiles
for students aiming for a research career and those preparing for professional
practice? By dividing these two types of programs among different establishments:
university faculties and professional schools? The question is up for debate.
The fourth chapter
looks at themes relating to the pedagogical process. The Commission stresses
that a renewal is awaited in the area of teaching. Students want more exciting
courses that arouse their curiosity and encourage them to participate. They
want teaching that combines humour with rigour. But they also want learning
that extends beyond the classroom walls and a stimulating environment that instils
in them a sense of belonging and keeps them from dropping out. It should be
noted that these concerns were not voiced only by the younger students. In fact,
the harshest criticism on this topic came from the higher education sector.
Teachers at every level
must be properly trained in educational psychology. This is the price we must
pay for the diversification of teaching methods praised by some and demanded
by others. The recent reform in initial training for elementary and secondary
school teachers is a step in the right direction in that it better integrates
the disciplinary and educational psychology aspects of teacher training, increases
the length of practical training and lays the foundations for a true partnership
between universities and schools. The Commissioners wonder, however, if the
current level of emphasis on disciplinary trainingÄ60 credits for two subjects,
or the equivalent of just one year of specialized training per subjectÄis
sufficient to enable teachers to work effectively with second cycle secondary
At the college and university
levels, steps should be taken to ensure that teacher training in educational
psychology is not left to individual discretion but rather that it be clearly
established as a requirement for the practice of teaching. As far as professional
development is concerned, the current system of organizing a handful of activities
on pedagogical days is not sufficient.
As for teaching resources,
the Commission is concerned by the state of school libraries. The survival of
what remains of libraries depends on the work of volunteers. Québec will
therefore have to make a considerable effort if it wants to give its students
and teachers the resources they need to bring about the desired improvements
in general culture and working methods. In another vein, we cannot ignore the
problems encountered by English-language schools in obtaining instructional
materials in their language. In order to meet their needs more effectively,
we should perhaps consider exploring other avenues than the current practice
of translating materials.
With respect to new information
technology, the current state of affairs has been described by various organizations
in recent years: insufficient, out-of-date equipment, poor initial training
and professional development for teaching staff, poor support for technology
use in teaching, and curricula that make no attempt to satisfy the requirements
of the information society. Since consensus has existed for some time on the
type of changes needed in this respect, we can only hope that the partners will
finally agree on what actions to take.
The Commission recognizes
the importance of educational support for students' success. For student support
and supervision to be effective, a mix of methods must be used, including a
type of organization that encourages student grouping, student services, individual
follow-up in class, teacher-student meetings outside the classroom, the planning
of individual study and the provision of help with homework. As regards individual
study, it seems that students are not doing their share and that schools have
to some extent abdicated their accompanying role.
Vocational and technical
education is the focus of the fifth chapter. In the Commissioners'
opinion, no student should be allowed to leave the education system without
a qualification that will allow him or her to enter the labour market. To attain
this goal, there is an urgent need to reestablish, in parallel with the current
vocational education branch, which is better adapted to the needs of adult students,
a branch for young students still in secondary school. This branch must comprise
a number of different paths to meet the varied aptitudes and interests of the
target group: life skills and work skills education, short programs leading
to semi-specialized occupations, and longer programs leading to specialized
occupations. The latter programs, leading to a Secondary School Vocational Diploma,
should be made accessible after Secondary III and allow students to continue
taking general education courses concurrently with their vocational education
courses. The educational challenge inherent in such an approach has not
really been met up to this point.
Like the Pagé committee,
the Commission considers that secondary-level vocational education programs
and college-level technical education programs must be designed as part of a
continuum. A number of students have deserted vocational education because they
see it as a dead-end option. This is a well-known phenomenon at the college
level, where 20 percent of graduates from what are normally terminal technical
education programs go on to study at the university level. Making vocational
education an access ramp not only to the labour market but also to college-level
studies would be an excellent way to raise the profile of the vocational education
sector, a much-stated goal. Such open-endedness, coupled with solid general
education, should be encouraged at both the secondary and college levels.
The Commission also believes
that less academically-centred training methods would be more suited to students
enrolled in vocational and technical education. Work-study programs, in which
students go back and forth between the classroom and the workplace, are an avenue
that should be further explored. They provide training that is more closely
related to the reality of the workplace, ensure access to leading-edge equipment,
motivate students, and facilitate their integration into the labour market.
However, making companies the main support of such a system does not seem realistic.
Since major investments in schools have recently been made in this sector, it
would be preferable to enrich the school-based system by introducing the work-study
format rather than hand over a large part of the vocational education process
to business and industry which, on its own admission, is unwilling to take responsibility
With regard to accessibility,
the Commissioners feel that program viability thresholds and the job prospects
of graduates must always be taken into account, even though students' needs
and the interests of the regions are also factors that must be considered. We
must strike a balance between regionalization and rationalization.
On a different topic, the
Commissioners fail to understand how an operation to reform vocational education
and raise its profile can have been launched without paying more attention to
the teaching staff who constitute its very pillars. Millions of dollars have
been spent on new equipment but, at the same time, the teaching corps has been
all but eliminated. While new machinery was being ushered in through one door,
the professional expertise of teachers was being thrown out the other. The results
are only too evident: currently, at the secondary level, two-thirds of the teaching
staff in vocational education are on either part-time or hourly contracts. The
precarious employment conditions of vocational education teachers constitute
an obstacle to any attempt to reform the sector.
In the sixth chapter,
the Commissioners broach the topic of continuing education. They attempt
to shed light on adults' educational needs and on the services likely to meet
The Commission is particularly
sensitive to needs in the area of literacy training. The statistics are appalling.
A study by Statistics Canada in 1991 revealed that the reading skills of nearly
900 000 adult Quebecers were too limited to allow them to read everyday documents.
The endemic nature of the problem, despite efforts to raise Quebecers' level
of schooling, is also a source of concern. An in-depth study should be undertaken
and more aggressive measures implemented to eliminate illiteracy.
The Commissioners note that
general education services for adults at the secondary level are being diverted
from their original mission now that young people aged 16 to 18 have access
to them on an equal footing with adults. Adult education must not constitute
an alternative for young people who want to avoid meeting initial education
With regards to university-level
certificate programs, it may well be asked whether the lure of funding is not
undermining this sector, which nevertheless constitutes an interesting avenue
for continuing education at the postsecondary level.
The Commission deplores
the tendency to view adult education merely as a tool for worker adjustment.
While it is not opposed to attaching importance to job training programs, it
believes this approach is not entirely healthy. For example, certain employability
programs actually serve more to manage exclusion and occupy the unemployed by
leading them from one program to another rather than offering them skills that
will actually qualify them for a job. Furthermore, by putting all our eggs in
one basket, we risk accentuating the narrow utilitarian approach to training
that now prevails, even though the situation increasingly calls for more general
and transferable basic skills.
To foster the development
of quality continuing education programs and begin setting up the components
of a continuing education system, the Commission believes that priority should
be given to four considerations which affect the system as a whole: the improvement
of reception and referral services; the further development of services for
the recognition of prior learning; the development of distance education involving
new information and communication technologies; an in-depth study, by all of
the partners, of the problem of instructors (employment status, training and
The problems observed with
respect to the accessibility or pertinence of services often stem from a lack
of clear policies in continuing education and a failure to recognize that every
adult has a right to upgrade his or her skills. Considerable progress remains
to be made in this regard.
In the seventh chapter,
the Commission examines issues relating to the sharing of roles and responsibilities
within the education system. The education system has become so bureaucratic
and top-heavy that its effectiveness could be impaired. Latitude at the local
level has been gradually eroded by a plethora of laws, policies, regulations
and guidelines whose numbers are equalled only by their complexity.
This quick assessment points
us in a new direction. Like many participants in the hearings, the Commission
feels that decision-making must be brought closer to the front lines, which
means transferring power to the schools. Those directly concerned_citizens,
local administrators, teachers, students, parents_must be given more control
over the organization of educational services so that they can tailor them to
local needs. The best way to do this, particularly with respect to representation
and negotiation structures, remains to be determined. For this reason, the Commission
submits for discussion various scenarios that might help clarify the situation:
gradually shifting powers from the school boards to the schools (with universal
elections at this level); replacing the current school boards with agencies
that provide the schools with services and representation and whose territories
would correspond to those of the regional county municipalities or with regional
agencies composed of representatives from various milieus (education, health
services, municipalities, cultural organizations, transportation); increasing
the responsibilities of school boards and their power to levy taxes; setting
up an outside board to accredit educational institutions.
As regards the negotiation
of collective agreements, the Commissioners feel that we must find a way to
reconcile the search for equity, which is facilitated by central negotiation,
and the need for flexibility in the area of working conditions, as entailed
by the exercise of greater power at the local level. The Commissioners also
feel that increasing job security is a more effective way of promoting collegiality,
a sense of belonging and renewed appreciation for the teaching profession than
is abolishing tenure.
They believe that greater
latitude for local administrators and professional autonomy for teachers are
necessary but that these must be exercised in a context where accountability
and evaluation are translated into practice. The public nature of the educational
mission and of its funding demands transparent management.
On the topic of private
education, which is discussed in the eighth chapter, the Commissioners
begin with a brief recapitulation of the relationship between public and private
education in Québec in order to clarify the issues at stake. Private
religious institutions have always played an essential supporting role in Québec's
education system. With the advent of the Quiet Revolution, Québec society
decided to have the State assume this role. A network of subsidized private
institutions nonetheless remained. This network, originally constituted of the
remnants of the former system, has since expanded and continues to grow. It
is taking on the role of a parallel system. The situation has therefore evolved
differently from the expectations of 30 years ago.
The reasons justifying the
existence of the private system, in the view of its supporters, have also evolved
over time. Thirty years ago, the survival of the educational traditions of the
religious teaching orders justified the maintenance of a subsidized private
education system in the eyes of the public. The arguments used to support the
existence of the system at the present time, however, are of a different
kind. They are based on the rights of parents to choose a system of education
for their children, and on the advantage of having, within our society, a subsidized
private system in competition with the public system. This shift in both the
context and underpinnings of private education calls into question the results
of the democratic process that led to the reforms of the 1960s. That this should
happen and that this view should gain widespread acceptance without public discussion
is a cause for concern.
The Commission raises other
issues which merit further consideration. First, it is an undisputed fact that
the number of students attending private schools has increased considerably
over the last 20 years. At the secondary level, the proportion of students attending
private school has more than doubled over this period, increasing from 8 percent
in 1973-1974 to 17.2 percent in 1993-1994.
The increase can be seen
as a result of the funding practices in force in the private sector, but is
also caused by the growing dissatisfaction of parents with public schools, especially
public secondary schools. Another reason that has been suggested to explain
why parents opt for a private school is that they are not allowed to choose
which public school to send their children to.
The majority of private
institutions at the secondary and college levels are considered to be in the
public interest, a status which justifies the fact that they are approved
for funding purposes. However, it seems fair to say that private schools do
not have the same obligations as public schools. A private school may, for example,
expel a student who does not comply with its requirements, whereas a public
school in the same situation has no choice but to keep the student in school
until the end of compulsory schooling at the age of 16. Private schools are
not required to accept less talented students or to integrate students with
handicaps or learning or adjustment difficulties. Given these conditions, it
would seem that the state of healthy competition between two parallel systems,
the ideal suggested by some observers, is basically flawed. The increasing student
base of the private system, which draws large numbers of students away from
the public system, is also a matter that merits consideration. The effect of
this exodus on the ability of public schools to fulfil their mission should
not be underestimated.
The central question of
the existence of a subsidized private system is political rather than legal
in nature since the legislation guarantees the right to choose but imposes no
obligation on the State to provide funding.
Within Canada, Québec
leads the other provinces in the amount of funding it provides for private education.
This is why the Commission believes that the real question is not how much it
costs to subsidize the private education system, but rather whether the existence
of subsidized private schools is justified in light of the mission assigned
to our schools and the ability of the education system to meet the needs of
Essentially, the ninth
chapter repeats the arguments put forward during the hearings for either
maintaining confessional schools or replacing them with secular institutions.
According to those in favour
of abolishing the confessional system, the separation of Church and State implies
that the State must not subsidize any religion. In their opinion, the confessional
system has many drawbacks. It fragments the education system and creates ghettos,
a problem which would only grow worse if people from all religions claimed and
obtained the same rights as those enjoyed by Catholics and Protestants. According
to some, the confessional system does not favour the integration of immigrants
into the common public culture.
Those in favour of maintaining
the confessional system argued that education must be geared to overall development,
i.e., to spiritual, moral and religious growth in addition to cognitive development.
They see moral and religious education as a vehicle for the transmission of
cultural heritage. Also, religious education and pastoral activities help students
in their quest for meaning. Many based their position on the fact that
the broad majority of parents are in favour of maintaining the confessional
system. Finally, the proponents of the confessional system underscored that
the right to manage confessional schools is protected in the Canadian Constitution
and must therefore be respected.
Beyond the disagreements
on fundamental issues, common interests emerged in the positions stated by the
proponents and opponents of confessionality. All or almost all of the participants
said they were in favour of schools playing a role in teaching values, transmitting
Québec cultural heritage, and initiating students to world religions,
including Christianism. Likewise, all or almost all acknowledged the need to
pay attention to students' spiritual growth. The Commission feels any further
discussion should move along these lines if we are to bridge the gap and agree
on the structures and mechanisms most likely to meet these needs.
In the last chapter
of its report, the Commission considers the question of funding. It first
looks at Québec's financial contribution to education.
According to data on member
countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Québec
is one of the developed societies that invests the most in education (as a percentage
of its gross domestic product). In 1994, Québec invested 8.5 percent
of its gross domestic product (GDP) in education, compared with 7.6 percent
in the United States and 7 percent in Ontario. It should be remembered, however,
that Québec has a lower GDP than its neighbours, and must therefore devote
a larger percentage to education if its investment is to equal theirs in real
In recent years, Québec's
financial contribution to elementary and secondary education has been
similar to that of Ontario and the United States. A few years ago, it was vastly
superior. Other questions are submitted for discussion. They relate to the principle
of free education, the relation between the level of school taxation and participation
in school elections, and the need to make budgetary rules more flexible.
During the last two decades,
the financial contribution to the college sector has declined. A number of administrators
asked that the ceiling on compulsory fees be lifted. Some even suggested introducing
tuition fees. In the Commission's view, this issue should be approached with
caution. The CEGEPs, or at least technical education programs, have a major
redistributory effect. For many, a college education is still an instrument
of social mobility. The introduction of college tuition fees may have a direct
effect on the system's ability to achieve its objectives of democratization
and mass education. Questions such as these cannot be separated from the question
At the hearings, almost
all the participants from the university community stated that the universities
are underfunded. However, contrary to what happened in the elementary and secondary
sectors, over the years, Québec's financial contribution to postsecondary
education has increased at a significantly higher rate than that of its neighbours.
The Commission recognizes
that Québec's universities have a funding problem, but wonders if it
is caused by underfunding or by poor control of expenditures. The question it
puts to the universities is whether it would not be in their interest to work
as a true network and to seek collective solutions that would enable them to
In closing, the Commission
reiterates that the purpose of this first stage in the Estates General process
was to focus public attention on problems and issues so that we can address
them collectively. The next stage in the process will essentially consist in
dialogue. Reforming our education system can be a stimulating, rewarding project.
It will only be so, however, if we rally round it and do our share. The Commissioners
encourage everyone to seize the opportunity.
For additional copies of
The State of Education in Québec or of the Highlights :
Commission des États
généraux sur l'éducation
1060, rue Conroy, 3e étage
Telephone: (418) 643-8000
Fax: (418) 643-4507
©Gouvernement du Québec
Ministère de l'Éducation, 1996--95-1320
Legal Deposit -- Bibliothèque
nationale du Québec, 1996
Mise à jour : 25 mars 1996