Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
Student Services: A JOINT RESPONSIBILITY

In a brief made public in early May, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation reaffirms the essential role of student services for carrying out the school's mission. "For many students, equal opportunity would be inexistent, were it not for the support provided by student services. Cuts to these services may cause considerable damage, especially in areas where poverty is more prevalent," explained Conseil President Céline Saint-Pierre when the brief was launched at Saint-Pierre elementary school in Sainte-Thérèse. Ms. Saint-Pierre added that the current budget cuts in education and the resulting reorganization is cause for concern with respect to maintaining the quality and availability of student services.

 

Growing needs

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation attributes the growing need for student services to various factors, including profound changes in the family structure, greater cultural diversity, increased poverty, and the deterioration of the social fabric.

The brief goes on to outline student services, which complement teaching services. The term encompasses both support services, intended for all students and generally provided by the teaching staff (social, cultural, or sports activities and support and supervision) and special needs services (psychology, speech therapy, special education, and health and social services) provided by non-teaching professionals.

The Conseil has noted that the existence of support services is relatively precarious and by and large depends on the affluence of the school or the success of fund-raising campaigns. The Conseil has found that these activities, which enhance school life, fall far short of students' needs.

 

Organization and funding

The Conseil has observed a fragmentation of and decline in special services, which target 10% to 15% of elementary students. Although statistics show an increase of 386.8 equivalent-to-full-time student service positions (5.1%) in 1997-1998 compared with the previous year, the Conseil notes that this is due primarily to a substantial increase in support staff (daycare employees, student supervisors, special education technicians).

The Conseil also points out that there is a lack of concerted action between teaching and non-teaching staff working with the same students, and among those who work in education, health and social services, and youth protection. It stresses the urgent need to decompartmentalize these areas in order to reduce overlapping and better meet student needs. It therefore recommends the establishment of integrated services in cooperation with other networks, as well as the decompartmentalization of professional activities.

Furthermore, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation recommends that funding for student services reflect real needs and that a budget specifically for student services be introduced if necessary.

Panorama • Volume 3, Number 2 • May 1998

Document complet - in French (PDF)
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