MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2020 /CNW/ – Pathways to Education Canada is planning a major expansion campaign in Quebec to help address the province’s problem with high school graduation rates – and the increased challenges of students living in low-income communities trying to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just two years ago, a study conducted by the Institut du Québec found only 64% of high school students in Quebec were graduating on time – the lowest rate in Canada. Since then, with support and funding from the provincial government and its corporate partners, Pathways to Education has expanded its footprint into more Quebec communities.
However, the pandemic has hit Quebec particularly hard – and hit high school students living in low-income communities and their families even harder.
“We have students who are being told to learn online, but they don’t have computers and their families can’t afford internet,” says Sandro Di Cori, Pathways to Education’s Associate Vice-President and Quebec lead. “That’s no way for these young people to learn and this could completely derail their future. It’s a crisis within a crisis we need to address now.”
Compounding the problem, Di Cori says, is the fact many of these students have had to take on service sector jobs to help support their families during the pandemic. This both takes away from their focus on school work and puts them at higher risk of contracting the virus.
Moving forward, Pathways to Education has identified a huge need with expansion plans for Laval, Longueuil, Drummondville, Gatineau, Drummondville, Joliette, and Quebec City. Pathways to Education is grateful to those who have contributed to their programming in Quebec since 2007.
- Pathways is a charitable organization that provides high school students living in low-income communities with a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports to help them graduate high school. It’s been in Quebec since 2007 and currently helps more than 2500 students in the province with demand growing annually.
- In some areas of Quebec, the percentage of young people without a high-school diploma can be up to three times higher than the provincial average. Last year, the Quebec government delivered on their promise to support more youth living in low-income communities across the province by investing in the expansion of the Pathways Program. This investment will allow us to continue to support the unique needs of Quebec communities and offer new programming to reach more students in need.
- The first Pathways Program location in Quebec was launched in 2007 in Verdun. After more than a decade of programming in the province, the Pathways Program has grown substantially to include ten other communities: Lachine and Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montreal; Shawinigan; Sherbrooke; Mashteuiatsh, a First Nations community, Laval, Longueuil, Joliette, Quebec City, and Gatineau.
- In terms of further expansion, we are considering potential opportunities in the following regions:
- Abitibi-Témiscamagne (Val-d’Or)
- Cote-Nord (Sept-Iles / Baie-Comeau)
- Gaspésie (Matane / Cap chat Sainte-Anne-des-Monts / Grande-Rivière Chandler)
- Laurentides (Mont-Laurier / Lachute / Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts).
- The Pathways Program was designed to adapt to the unique needs of each community we serve. Across Quebec, programming is flexible and resonates with students’ needs in real-time. Our expansion will include comprehensive community consultations to ensure the successful integration of the Pathways Program and more youth having access to our essential supports.