[Opinion] Boys at school, a taboo to break

Let me first thank Gregory Charles. I don’t agree with all the solutions he proposes, but he had the courage to raise a taboo in Quebec. Of course, some did not hesitate to call him a stage manager, taking care not to offer a solution.

Here’s a portrait of the situation. The data used here is taken from the 2021 undergraduate (full-time) undergraduate enrollment data from the Ministry of Higher Education database. Let’s start with the average distribution of girls (60%) and boys (40%) in CEGEP and undergraduate universities. A real gap of about 17-18 points. It’s a huge hole, but the details are still interesting.

At Polytechnique Montréal, women represent 29% of students and this justifies the significant budgets invested in promoting engineering among girls. On the other hand, if you look at the University of Montreal side, men represent only 31% of the students, and this is not a cause for concern.

We also note that at the École de technology supérieure (ETS) women represent 14% of the clientele, which is very low. But the ETS specializes in the DEC-Bac transfer. Her clientele therefore largely comes from DECs in engineering. In the field of health, we can say that the faculties of nursing are the equivalent of the ETS, because they also recruit at the level of technical DECs. In these faculties there are 10% males, which is really very low.

Let’s look at the situation in the region. In the universities of Quebec (UQTR, UQAR, UQAT and UQO) we find a share of almost 70% women.

Québec databases on school attendance are open to all. Here’s what you might find about male attendance rates in certain Quebec programs: 31% in law, 23% in health sciences, 23% in education sciences, and 31% in humanities.

Have you ever heard of a ministerial action to encourage men in these professions?

Here’s an example that shows our governments are ignoring the problem. The Ministry of Higher Education has currently implemented a strategy based on transition poles. These cover the following five topics:

1. Back to school.

2. Interorder Transitions.

3. Aborigines.

4. Socio-professional integration.

5. Girls in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

There is absolutely nothing about boys’ success, their access to post-secondary education or to careers in health care, law or education.

This is what I think the government should do.

1. Recognize the problem.

2. Edit the 5and point of transition poles to make it more inclusive. That is, including the promotion of non-traditional occupations based on gender.

3. Use proven resources, such as promoting non-traditional professions and highlighting positive models of academic success for boys. There’s a “Hats off, girls!” » Why not « Sarreau, boys! †

4. Fund credible research that can provide conclusive data on the problem of boys in school.

That would of course be a good start, but I must confess that I am pessimistic. Because when this topic is discussed in public, it quickly seems to be defined as a non-issue and quickly disappears from the media horizon. Sometimes you have the impression that you are discussing with the ‘climate skeptics’ of education.

What level do we need to reach to move the ministries: 15%, 10%, 5% or 0%? Should a private foundation be established that focuses on the problem of boys in school? It could be used to fund research and carry out positive actions. If anyone is interested, I’m ready to help.

Here’s a phrase I’ve often heard in education circles: You can’t help the boys because it would harm the girls. I want to clarify my thought. It’s not about enrolling fewer girls in college, it’s just about enrolling more boys. One does not exclude the other.

Finally, it is clear to me that it is necessary to have education to develop a better, less violent and more egalitarian society. The education of girls, but also that of boys. In fact, highly educated men in a society are not a nuisance to women, on the contrary.

Actors in society (and I tend to say mostly women) have no interest in producing generations of frustrated and undereducated men. After all, they are going to vote and become husbands.

To be seen in video

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