A federal court ruling Monday that said the province of Quebec must let parents take their children out of high school if they don’t want them to graduate from college, will have a big impact on how universities and other institutions prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
But the ruling doesn’t guarantee any students will graduate with the degree they want.
The case, brought by a group of students and professors at the Université de Montréal and McGill University, is a huge blow to Quebec’s academic elite, who have been battling the province for years over how much time students should spend at university.
The ruling, in the federal Court of Appeal, will be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Canada, which could take up the issue in the fall.
The Supreme Court had already said it would rule on the matter.
Quebec has been grappling with how to deal with a shortage of students in the province and a growing demand for university education in Canada.
The province’s government says it has an “unprecedented” need for new students, but some academics say that is only one of many factors that contribute to the shortage.
The government argues the problem is a result of the lack of access to higher education, particularly in Quebec.
Some academics say the government’s efforts to attract more students and to make more money through tuition and fees are a major factor in the shortage and that a higher education system needs to be reformed to attract a higher percentage of students to study in Canada, especially in the sciences.
The provincial government has made some progress, saying it has committed $10 million to create a new “first-class” university and is investing more than $1 billion over the next five years to ensure students have a “life-long” connection to the province.
“It is a critical time in Quebec,” said Laurent Boisvert, the minister of education.
“We will continue to take the steps necessary to make sure that Quebecers continue to benefit from the expertise, the knowledge and the knowledge of the great universities in Canada.”
The government has also promised to create 25,000 new jobs by 2025.
The Quebec Federation of Teachers, which represents about 4,000 teachers, called the ruling “a victory for all Quebecers.”
The teachers union, the Quebec Public Service Employees Union, has accused the province’s education minister of ignoring the importance of education to the economy and society, saying the ruling will make it harder for students to attend university.
“I’m really concerned about how our government is doing,” said Gilles Gérard, president of the federation.
“The fact that we have this ruling today is a positive sign.”
He said he believes the government has no choice but to comply with the ruling, which will take effect on July 1.
The teachers said they are working to convince the province to reverse the ruling.
The federal government has said it has asked the Quebec government to delay its appeal of the ruling until after the next provincial election.