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As Quebec marks 'Hooked on School Days' campaign, parents group says more efforts needed to keep students in class


Quebec’s “Hooked on School Days” campaign kicked off Monday at Beurling Academy in Verdun to encourage children and young adults to stay in school. 

“Being in school is never easy, but certainly, given what we’ve been living for the last few years with the pandemic and economic situation, climate anxiety, we really need to encourage our youth to stay in school,” said Lester B. Pearson School Board Director General Cindy Finn.

More than 200 educational professionals and some students gathered in the high school gym for the hour-and-a-half-long event, focusing on perseverance.

Verdun Adult Career Centre student Jose Francisco Dominguez Merlo was invited to speak about his educational journey. The 18-year-old is no stranger to perseverance, moving from Honduras 6 months ago to further his education in Quebec.

“Even though it’s really hard, especially for an international student. It may be tiring at times but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the opportunities,” he told CTV News.

Other speakers include NFL-star-turned doctor Laurent Duvernay Tardif, Montreal’s public health director Dr. Mylene Drouin and Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville.

“The message today is: pursue, keep going. You've got to have support so my job is to help you as a child to get as much support as possible,” said Drainville.

But English Parents Committee Association President Katherine Korakakis argues that the government is not doing enough to keep kids in school.

“Parents have been sounding the alarm for a while now,” said Korakakis.

The week-long 'Hooked on School Days' campaign was launched Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 at Beurling Academy in Verdun.

She said Quebec must implement a post-pandemic educational recovery plan.

“You can say that everybody’s fallen behind. Okay, but now it’s time to put a plan in place so we can have that catch-up, so we can get our students to where they are supposed to be,” she said Monday.

Hooked on School Days comes a day after a new Leger poll found French overtakes math as the toughest subject for Quebec students. The minister believes his plan to bring child-care educators into the classroom will help students succeed.

“That’s going to help for French, that’s going to help for math, that’s going to help for science. That’s going to help for every subject matter,” said Drainville

The association does agree with the government that education is the responsibility of all Quebecers, but says things need to change now to keep kids in class.

The 19th edition of “Hooked on School Days” runs until Friday, with events planned for the rest of the week. Top Stories

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