Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
Social and Vocational Integration: A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

In its 1996-1997 Annual Report on the State and Needs of Education, tabled in the National Assembly and launched in Saint-Hyacinthe on November 19, 1997, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation states that the education system cannot single-handedly assume responsibility for the social and vocational integration of today's youth. It urges all stakeholders, from the immediate family to the highest economic and political decision-makers, to work toward a single goal: the full development of individuals, as citizens and workers, in a humanistic environment.

Concerned by the increased incidence of social exclusion and marginality, Conseil President Céline Saint-Pierre launched a special appeal to businesses, unions, professional corporations, and community groups. "The transition from school life to the workplace is not simply a question of individual will. Successful social and vocational integration should be the result of a commitment by society as a whole. As the title of the report indicates, it's a responsibility that must be shared," she stated to an audience of 100 at the École professionnelle de Saint-Hyacinthe.

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation considers the State to be a major partner in integration, and urges it to actively invest in managing the social ramifications of this new economic reality and to ensure the required coherence in terms of the orientation, coordination, and application of policies or mechanisms aimed at better integration of those wishing to play an active role in society.


Main issues

In the opening pages of its report, the Conseil addresses current social and economic issues. Globalization of production and markets, organization restructuring and downsizing, and the proliferation of new technologies are features of the "new economy".

Paradoxically, this dynamic economy has spawned job uncertainty and unemployment. The education system must ensure that no one graduates without initial training for the labour market, and it must also be capable of on-the-job training as well meeting the needs of workers re-entering the labour force. Flexibility and the ability to multi-task are skills that are much sought in this context.

Social integration must not depend only on vocational integration. The Conseil is worried about the widening gap between those who manage to enter the labour market and those who do not.


Role of the education system

Statistics on labour-market entry for graduates (of vocational programs at the secondary level, technical programs at the college level, undergraduate and graduate university programs) clearly indicate that it pays to be qualified and that there is a positive correlation between the level of education and the ability to find work.

However, the education system must go beyond a purely utilitarian, short-term vision of training aimed merely at preparing students to enter the workplace. Because perfect meshing between initial training and jobs is virtually impossible, we must turn to continuing education to ensure the development and maintenance of professional qualifications.

The Conseil recommends several courses of action enabling the education system to fully assume its share of responsibilities with regard to social and vocational integration, which include: implementing training programs that will spark the interest of those who leave school because of the traditional training provided; building bridges between vocational training and higher education; promoting humanistic values such as collaboration and solidarity so as to minimize the risk of social implosion that occurs when resources are rare; updating and renewing programs offered, based on regional needs; greater interdisciplinary activity in training; developing personal and social skills in order to enhance qualifications: self-confidence, sense of responsibility, ability to work in teams, etc.; adequate information and guidance; vocational integration assistance measures.




  • 75% of those who have not completed their secondary school studies are unemployed (this percentage does not include income security recipients).
  • 35% of Québec's unemployed hold no diploma whatsoever.
  • The 1996 52 000-job increase over 1990 figures is the net result of a 351 000 job-increase (26.1%) by people having completed postsecondary or university studies, coupled with a loss of 299 000 jobs (-16.3%) for workers with other types of qualifications.
  • In 1994-1995, 14.7% of students in the school system left without graduating (versus 30.8% in 1986-1987). Boys posted higher drop out rates (22%) than girls (7%).
  • As of March 31, 1995, 64.7% of those who graduated with a secondary school vocational diploma (DEP) in 1993-1994 had a job, while 22.2% were still looking.
  • As of March 31, 1995, 70.0% of those who graduated with a diploma of college studies (DEC) in the technical sector in 1993-1994 had a job, while 10.2% were still looking.
  • In January 1994, 71.3% of those who graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1992 had a job, while 9.2% were still looking. For the same periods, those with a master's degree posted an employment rate of 77.0% and a job search rate of 5.6%. The corresponding figures for those with a Ph.D. were 88.9% and 3.7%.
  • Average weekly salaries were $396 (DEP), $426 (technical DEC), $605 (B.A.), $906 (M.A.), and $926 (Ph.D.).
  • The job situation for graduates with diplomas of the same level varies greatly by discipline. For example, graduates with a bachelor's in health sciences, computer sciences, or education (remedial education and psychoeducation) had higher placement rates than those in other disciplines.
  • Young people with a disability are disproportionately represented among those who have fewer than nine years' schooling or no secondary school diploma. They are under-represented among those who have completed post-secondary education.

Panorama • Volume 3, Number 1 • February 1998

Document complet - in French (PDF)


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