Insufficient services for students in difficulty, according to the Québec Ombudsman

Due to a lack of resources, the education system is struggling to meet the needs of students with learning difficulties, noted the Québec Ombudsman after an investigation.

Insufficient services for students in difficulty, according to the Québec Ombudsman

Due to a lack of resources, the education system is struggling to meet the needs of students with learning difficulties, noted the Québec Ombudsman after an investigation.

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"At a crucial stage in their development, elementary school students do not have all the attention they need from the school system to promote their educational success," said the Québec Ombudsman, Marc-André Dowd in a press release. , Monday.

"While they ''wait their turn'' for services to which the law entitles them, these students in difficulty do not make the expected progress and their delays persist, hampering their academic career and their personal and social development", a he added.

Due to a lack of resources, educational services are not always well aligned with the needs of students, according to Mr. Dowd. Too often, services are offered “as possible” rather than as needed, particularly because of available funding.

Added to this is the administrative burden of the “quality assurance” process imposed by the Ministry of Education, which affects the availability of staff, and therefore the accessibility of services.

This is a real problem, since the staff in the education network is already in short supply, so much so that the Ministère de l'Éducation "does not have a clear picture of the positions to be filled in complementary educational services “, can we read in a press release.

Unfortunately, this forces stakeholders to make “choices with serious consequences”. For some students, it takes too long to access the services they need. For others, these are simply not offered by “a member of the employment body best able to offer them”.

Is collaboration between the various stakeholders also limited by the lack of staff, since many professionals have to share their time between several schools, which harms the cohesion of work teams and makes it more difficult to develop a sense of of belonging with colleagues, students and their families, noted Mr. Dowd.

Recommendations

To improve access to complementary educational services and ensure the success of students with difficulties, Mr. Dowd made 11 recommendations to the Quebec Ministry of Education.

Mr. Dowd recommends, in particular, establishing and funding a minimum threshold of services across the province, promoting positions in educational services for students in difficulty and monitoring positions to be filled.

He also believes that it is necessary to review the funding model for these services as well as the terms of accountability based on the real needs of students.

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