CEGEP graduation rate raising alarms

Quebec’s Federation of CEGEPs is sounding the alarm over dropout rates officials are calling alarming.

Federation head Bernard Tremblay said on Saturday that while party leaders running in Quebec’s provincial election have talked about bringing up the province’s notoriously low high school graduation rates, more must be done.

Tremblay said only 63 per cent of CEGEP students graduate and called on the political parties to make major commitments to boosting CEGEP graduation rates.

The problem is especially prevalent among male students, where only 56 per cent complete their CEGEP studies, compared to 67 per cent of female students.  Tremblay said one possible reason for the discrepancy is that among the few well-paying jobs left in the province that don’t require post-secondary degrees are mining and construction work – jobs that have a higher barrier to entry for women than men.

In 2017, though a record number of jobs were created in Quebec, 80 per cent of those jobs required a CEGEP or university degree.

“We are putting the numbers together and seeing that we don’t have enough students to fill all the jobs that we have right now and that we’ll need in the future,” said Tremblay. “There’s a big challenge there for Quebec society.”

Tremblay said some measures that could be taken include more funding for CEGEPs to create programs that combine sports or work with studies.

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