The pandemic causes school dropouts to jump by 30%

Pandemic causes school dropouts to jump 30%


The increase in school dropouts since the start of the pandemic is confirmed. The number of young people who have dropped out of school has increased by almost 30% over the past two years, although the situation has improved slightly in the last school year.

These figures come from an access to information request made to the 72 school service centers in the province. 

Of this number, 44 provided us with data on the number of young people who dropped out of high school within the past three years.

Despite the general trend, the data varies considerably from one service center to another.

However, this is not the official dropout rate calculated by the Ministry of Education, which does not is not yet available for the last two years.

“Important indicator”

However, these data remain “relevant” since they represent an “important indicator” of what has been happening in the school network since the start of the pandemic, says Égide Royer, psychologist and expert in school dropouts.

< p>“The gap between strong and weak students has increased since the start of the pandemic”, which could have pushed more fragile young people to drop out, he says.

< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/4a5fd1537cffc3590e7283badc51af8d.jpg" alt="Pandemic causes school dropouts to jump 30%" />

Courtesy photo Mélanie Marsolais, Fighting school dropouts

This quantified portrait does not surprise Mélanie Marsolais, executive director of the Regroupement des organizations communautaire québécoises de combat à la décrochage either. 

“There are waiting lists, the organizations are not able to supply the demand,” she says.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the difficulties of young people, such as deprivation and mental health problems. »

Organizations note that the distress is still very great among young people, even among those who do not drop out, she adds. 

The needs are so great that several organizations have continued to offer services this summer, so as not to drop young people in critical situations.

With the labor shortage, it will also be “extremely difficult” to hang up these young people who have turned their backs at school, adds Ms. Marsolais. 

“There are more and more good reasons to go to work, the job market is ultra-attractive”, she underlines.

Worse for girls

Mélanie Marsolais is particularly concerned about dropping out among girls, who are less likely to turn to vocational training, which is more attractive to boys.

The repercussions of the pandemic will still be felt for several years, she adds: “Yes, we see that the numbers are starting to come down, but the young people who have just returned to secondary school have also suffered a lot of challenges. We will have to monitor the situation over a period of ten years.”


Rivière-du-Nord (Laurentides)

  • 2019-2020: 42
  • 2020-2021: 97< /strong>
  • 2021-2022: 121

Tributaries (Lanaudière)< /p>

  • 2019-2020: 99
  • 2020-2021: 125
  • 2021-2022: 181

Energy (Mauricie)

  • 2019-2020: 139 
  • 2020 -2021: 146
  • 2021-2022: 185


  • 2019-2020: 420
  • 2020-2021: 806
  • 2021-2022: 628

Marie-Victorin (Montérégie)

  • 2019-2020: 224 < /li>
  • 2020-2021: 235 
  • 2021-2022: 232< /li>

Capital (Quebec)

  • 2019-2020: 130
  • 2020-2021: 123
  • 2021-2022: 115

Number of withdrawals during the year*

  • 2019-2020: 3325
  • 2020-2021: 4402 (+32%)
  • 2021-2022: 4280 (-3%)< /li>
  • Two-year increase: 29%

*These figures come from 44 school service centers and concern young people who left school for the following reasons: abandonment, access to the labor market, unknown reason or personal reason. Removals and evictions are notably excluded from this data. However, this is not the official dropout rate established by the Ministry of Education, whose latest data available dates back to 2019-2020.

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