L. Jacques Ménard passes the torch to Diane De Courcy, new president of Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires

Paying tribute to a leading figure who gave the student retention movement its impetus

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - After setting up and heading the Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires au Québec for nearly six years, L. Jacques Ménard, president of the BMO Financial Group, Quebec, is stepping down as the Group's president but will stay on be a member. Many members of the business and school communities came together today to pay tribute to Mr. Ménard, including Sophie Brochu, president and CEO, Gaz Métro, and André Chagnon, chair of the board and CEO, Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon. 

Mr. Ménard made a significant contribution to bringing the student retention issue to the forefront in Quebec, especially in the business community, with the 2009 publication of his eye-opening report, Savoir pour pouvoir : entreprendre un chantier national pour la persévérance scolaire, produced with major support from McKinsey & Company. This report put a dollar figure on the costs of dropping out of school, encouraging the business community to get involved in fighting the phenomenon and making 10 recommendations to put Quebec back on the path to academic success.

Following the report's publication that same year, the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport launched the L'école, j'y tiens! strategy, inspired by the recommendations it contained.

The success of our students in good hands: Diane De Courcy takes the helm

Mr. Ménard is today passing the torch to the Groupe d'action's new president, Diane De Courcy. Her vast experience in the education sector and extensive knowledge of the workings of government make her an ideal candidate. Ms. De Courcy headed the Commission scolaire de Montréal for 14 years (1994 to 2012), in addition to serving as minister of Immigration and minister responsible for the French-Language Charter (2012-2014).

Efforts that have produced impressive results

The Groupe d'action's initiatives, coupled with ongoing efforts by numerous players on the ground, are making a difference: the high school graduation rate before age 20 has risen from 68.6% in 2006-2007 to 75.8% in 2011-2012, an increase of more than six percentage points. The goal for 2020 is 80%; future increases will therefore call for greater efforts and adoption of other types of effective initiatives.

A few milestones in the student retention movement

Since 2009, there have been many initiatives to rally Quebec's leaders and encourage students to stay in school, spearheaded by both the Groupe d'action and the actions of the student retention movement.

These include the creation of Réunir Réussir, an organization created in the wake of a partnership agreement between the Quebec government's Secrétariat à la jeunesse and the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon; establishment of the Robotique FIRST Québec initiative, cofounded by Mr. Ménard, Gabriel Bran Lopez of Fusion Jeunesse as well as Laurent Beaudoin and Bombardier; and three editions of the Rencontres interrégionales sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires, which brought together hundreds of people committed to developing a culture of finishing high school in Quebec. Click here for a detailed list of the Group's milestones in recent years (in French only).

The Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires is the result of a citizen initiative. It is a multi-sector platform and forum for discussion of initiatives to encourage students throughout Quebec to stay in school. The Groupe d'action has an objective to document and to inform all players in Quebec society of the importance of finishing high school and to ensure that by 2020, 80% of young Quebeckers obtain their first diploma or qualification before age 20.

 

SOURCE Groupe d’action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires

For further information: Jean-Alexandre D'Etcheverry, 514-843-2369, 514-910-1328, jadetcheverry@national.ca; Éric Demers, 1-418-929-23878, edemers@groupeactionperseverance.org

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Groupe d’action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires

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