Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
IN THE WORKS - College Education: ACADEMIC AND CAREER COUNSELLING

In February 2000, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation mandated its Commission de l'enseignement collégial to prepare a brief on the colleges’ role in academic and career counselling where their young clientele is concerned. Although guidance counselling does not begin in college, it is often at this point in their studies that students confirm their career choice. What is more, they expect colleges to support them in this process.

 

Necessary support

This support seems all the more necessary since young people generally enter college at 17, an age when they are just beginning to glean some self-knowledge. In a brief published in 1992, the Conseil estimated the percentage of the student population that had specific academic plans on entering college at only 20%. And career options continue to grow by leaps and bounds: no fewer than 130 programs leading to a diploma of college studies (DEC) are currently offered.

Either by choice or because they have no alternative, many students change courses and even programs in the first year of college. Although this exploration is often seen as the price to pay for success, the graduation rate is lower for those who change programs more than once.

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation feels that guidance counselling should be among the colleges’ responsibilities. It should not simply be relegated to the status of a specialized service but be a consideration throughout institutions’ different administrative, organizational and pedagogical activities.

 

An exacting mandate

To carry out its mandate, the Commission de l'enseignement collégial will have to begin by getting an overview of the academic and career counselling process, understand its components and main sources of influence and situate the college study phase within this process (specific features, student needs). It will look especially at the conditions under which guidance counselling develops.

This study, notably rounded out by discussion groups and interviews of college staff and students, will enable the Commission to identify the terms and conditions for organizing the teaching and support measures to be reviewed and gauging their scope. Finally, the Commission will pay particular attention to the pre-requisites underlying the colleges’ ability to suitably meet students’ and society’s expectations. It will also have to look at harmonization between the secondary and college levels.

The Conseil’s brief on the colleges’ role in the academic and career counselling process should be released in early 2002.


Panorama • Volume 6, number 1 • February 2001

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