Les 22, 23 et 24 juin 2009, le CAPRES s’est rendu à York en Angleterre pour tenir un atelier dans le cadre de la 18e conférence annuelle de l’European Access Network (EAN). Le CAPRES était fier de participer à cet événement qui a permis de faire connaître les particularités du système scolaire québécois.
Special Interest Group 1: Retention and Student Success
FOCUSING ON INSTITUTIONAL/ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
In the province of Quebec (Canada), access to higher education and equal opportunity are issues of public concern. Indeed, by the end of the 1960s, Quebec had undertaken a vast reform of its education system with the aim of maximizing access to higher education. As a result, 48 college-level institutions were created (the network of Cégeps), along with 10 public university institutions (the network of the University of Quebec). Through the establishment of these institutions in each of Quebec’s regions the issue of geographical inequality to access was largely resolved. Moreover, it greatly increased the number of college and university spots available to potential students.
By the beginning of the 1990s, impressive results in access to higher education could be observed in quantitative terms. Consequently, new strategies were devised to act on a more qualitative level. The challenge at this point was work within institutions to provide the best possible quality of education and, most importantly, to facilitate student success and degree completion.
Within the framework of this SIG on the institutional and environmental factors of student retention, you will be presented with three initiatives. These initiatives will be discussed with the aim of illustrating the above-mentionned efforts and of proposing examples of institutional actions and adjustments that support greater student access and success.
The first case will be that of a state organisational structure (Cégeps), which are, in fact, unique in the world. Cégeps facilitate a functional and efficient passage from high school to university and/or the job market.
The second case will illustrate the feasibility of integrating the values of access and university success into the culture of a traditionally elitist and selective institution.
The third, finally, will describe how the functional marriage of two institutional services was undertaken in order to support student success. The institutional services in question developed knowledge and expertise through a number of interventions with professors and students who, too often, act independently of each other in this regard.
These three short case studies should speak to your own experiences or knowledge and thus to allow an exchange which will bring us further along and enrich us mutually.
Special Interest Group 2: Retention and Student Success
FOCUSING ON INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT FACTORS
Despite the setting up of institutional structures to encourage a wide access to higher education, there are still at present inequalities of access in Québec (Canada). Indeed, the intake of universities and colleges continues to be made up largely of students from higher socio-economic backgrounds and certain communities remain significantly underrepresented As a result of the substantial increase in enrolment in Cégeps (Québec’s colleges) and universities over the last forty years, the discussion about the necessity of widening access has weakened.
Researchers and local actors have made efforts to document these questions and to demonstrate that there remains still much to do in order to render universities and colleges in Québec completely accessible. For example, the « Transitions » research team has analysed cross-national Canadian data sources to identify the socio-demographic factors linked to access to higher education. At a different level, local actors at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue have developed strategies aimed towards offering services that are more in tune with the specific cultural reality of the native (aboriginal) populations.
Such situations are not unique to Québec, although they may appear in different forms elsewhere in the world. This SIG offers the possibility to exchange your knowledge and experience on the subject.