Arrival of a vaccine: a beacon of hope for students, says Minister Danielle McCann

The arrival of a vaccine brings a glimmer of hope for college and university students, says Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann, who suggests that more could be returning to campuses in Canada. during the winter session.

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“We see the light at the end of the tunnel. When we hear that the vaccine is coming, I think we will be elsewhere in March, “she said in an interview with The newspaper.

Even if it is too early to guarantee anything, Minister McCann indicates that with the start of the vaccination, which will begin next week, “the situation will change” since a good part of the population in risk will be vaccinated over the next few months.

“We have to see how it will unfold, but indeed, if we see that we have a decrease in the pandemic and an improvement in the situation, and if we are able to make flexibility during the session, we will do so , that’s for sure, ”she added.

Psychological distress

The psychological distress of students, who must take the vast majority of their courses online in the red zone, has made headlines in recent weeks.

The results of a survey conducted by the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur among 600 students from Quebec CEGEPs and universities, including The newspaper obtained a copy, confirm that isolation weighs heavily on the morale of students: 63% consider that their psychological health has deteriorated, a proportion similar to that obtained by the Federation of Collegiate Students of Quebec in a previous survey.

The majority of students surveyed (71%) say they lack motivation to take their courses, while 67% of them consider that learning is more difficult this year. Almost half (45%) consider that they have fallen behind in their studies.

Even though the vaccine brings a glow at the end of the tunnel, Mr.me McCann remains concerned about the situation: “We still have to spend the next few months. This is why we have to help our students with all possible strategies. “

If the students seem fairly satisfied with the way their session was going despite the circumstances, the level of dissatisfaction rises with the support services available to them.

Minister McCann says more help will be on the way during the winter session, recalling the additional investment of $ 10 million recently announced to provide more mental health support.

New video clips produced by TÉLUQ to guide them through online training will also be available at the start of the winter session.

Asked not to let go

While the poll reveals that 16% of the students questioned are thinking about giving up their studies, the minister asks them to hold on.

“Last spring it was the start of the fight, it was extremely difficult,” she said. In September, establishments were better prepared. In winter, we will be even better prepared because we would like students to continue their studies, knowing that the situation will improve in 2021 because of the vaccines. ”

Not just bad news

  • 60% of CEGEPs and university students are satisfied with the fall session in general
  • 66% to 71% are satisfied with the quality of distance learning courses
  • 71% are optimistic about continuing their studies despite the pandemic

In the actual context

At CEGEP

  • 36% prefer distance learning
  • 48% prefer face-to-face lessons

University

  • 44% prefer distance learning
  • 46% prefer face-to-face lessons

Source: Survey carried out by an independent firm for the Ministry of Higher Education from October 30 to November 4, 2020 with a representative sample of 300 CEGEPs and 300 university students.

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