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Published January 25, 2015 | Multidisciplinary

Higher Education for Everyone in Quebec

Jack Frost is not being gentle on the fine people of Quebec at this time of year. He’s making us a bit nostalgic for the summer. Fortunately, the team at the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale (AQPC) informed us last week that they have completed the translation of the summer edition of their journal Pédagogie collégiale. This time, the articles revolve around the theme of access to higher education. The diversity of topics, as well as their amazing depth illustrate that the editorial staff of the journal had a very busy summer.

Why, you ask, is Profweb suddenly highlighting the release of this particular issue, now available in English?

Simply put, technology has been a difference-maker for the accessibility of education for the population in Quebec!

Perhaps the most striking portrait of technology’s role in changing the very nature of colleges is illustrated in the article “Innovating to Promote Access to Higher Education in Rural Areas” by Marie-Hélène Bergeron, the IT Representative at Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. You have to read this inspiring article to fully appreciate just how motivated an institution like Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles can be when maintaining accessibility for their students. They continue to offer a rich, diversified range of courses despite trying economic times and demographic decline. One solution has been to connect multiple campuses through technology. Like a beacon shining out on the horizon, each of the solutions adopted by this institution, which are teeming with creativity and resourcefulness, shed light on how to handle the many ups and downs that can occur in outlying regions. They include a variety of projects aimed at making programs more attractive by combining educational techniques such as video conferencing, distance learning, and on-campus instruction. In addition, there is the pairing of courses and institutions through immersion programs as well as adapting course offerings to the region's socioeconomic situation.

Another rich vein of IT-laced pedagogy can be mined from the article “A School for All Talents” which is an interview with Guy ROCHER, Sociologist and member of the Commission royale d’enquête sur l’enseignement dans la province de Québec. Guy Rocher takes stock of Quebec's progress in terms of access to higher education from the Parent report up to the Demers report. He broaches a mind-blowing combination of topics such as talent, openness, technical training and labour, the utopia of equality, persistence, creativity, institutional specificity, imagination, inter-college collaboration, distance learning, and language! In doing so, he measures the strides towards academic inclusiveness Quebec has made since the 1960s while raising current challenges to education for everyone. A productive peak into the past provides the impetus for building a future that is not only better, but more equitable.

Mr. Rocher’s take on technology is revealed in this paragraph from the article:

CEGEPs have a lot to think about in terms of the future, especially with the up-and-coming generations that are immersed in technology. This creates a major issue: we are being beset by new gigantic worlds of information. The education system now has a responsibility to transform this information into knowledge. To my mind, information and knowledge are not the same. Information must be subjected to a process of critical thinking to be synthesized and become part of a body of knowledge. Young people often have access to reams of information that has not necessarily become knowledge. With the arrival of massive amounts of information, we must address this major challenge.

Our editorial policy constrains us from presenting an exhaustive examination of all the articles in this issue, but a listing of their titles should serve to whet the appetite of our readers.

So grab your favourite sweater, charge up your e-Book reader or tablet and access these articles today.

Bonne lecture!

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