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About 33% of Quebec students considered leaving school during the pandemic: survey

Nearly one-third of Quebec students aged 15 to 22 have thought about dropping out of school since the start of the pandemic, according to a Leger survey conducted for the Réseau québécois pour la réussite éducative (RQRE).

Audrey McKinnon, executive director of RQRE, said there are many factors behind these findings, as a lack of extracurricular activities or difficult personal situations can negatively impact students.

About half of the respondents also said that the health crisis had a negative effect on their perception of the future.

Regarding, “somewhat unexpectedly and surprisingly,” they “still show a glimmer of hope” about their future, McKinnon noted in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Three-quarters of respondents said they’re optimism about their future, and almost as many said they’re motivated by their studies.

Among the 500 young people surveyed, 81 per cent felt competent regarding the academic goals they have set for themselves and 78 per cent felt good about their future when it comes to their academic career.

89 per cent said at least one person close to them has recently had a positive influence on their academic progress. Parents were cited by 57 per cent and friends by 33.

A large majority said they value their parents’ advice about their academic choices.

“We want to salute the people around us […] All the things we can do make a difference and allow them to maintain this glimmer of hope and confidence in their future, despite the difficult times,” said McKinnon.

However, 11 per cent of those surveyed said they’ve had no positive influence from a relative.

The survey was conducted as part of the Hooked on School Days campaign, which runs from Feb.14 to 18.

The survey also revealed that half of young people believe that Quebec society is not doing enough to encourage students to stay in school.

“We have to take note of this. We know that the situation is difficult, and even worrisome, for many young people who do not have the conditions to get through this crisis like others,” said McKinnon.

WORK-STUDY BALANCE

The survey also measured work-study balance. Of those who are employed, 87 per said they are able to balance school and work. Most said their employer considers their education when managing their schedule.

“In 2019, we surveyed employers and they are responding. They want to provide work-study balance for their student employees,” said McKinnon.

School still takes precedence over work for a majority of respondents. Theents were asked to indicate respond on a scale of one to 10 whether they prioritized school or work, with one to five representing priority for school and six to ten for their job.

The average result was 3.8/10, according to the survey, and female respondents prioritized their education more than men.

The Léger firm conducted the survey among young people currently in school between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4.

— This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on Feb. 13. 2022.

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