Meeting with the DEM

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AQED requested a meeting with the management of DEM, which took place on April 1st. The main topic was obviously the mandatory exams. Here are some of the points that came up:

  • Proof of Participation – The DEM and the SB/SSC cannot share information in the homeschooling families file with each other. The only way to know if a child has participated in the ministerial exams is if the parent shares with the DEM the document that the SB/SSC will send to the parent after the marking is completed. CAUTION: The DEM may ask you to sign a consent form for sharing information.
  • Processing Results – The DEM will not have access to individual scores on these tests, and the parent is not required to share this information. Just as in school, there is no consequence for passing or failing these tests on the child’s course of study (except in high school for the purpose of acquiring credits). CAUTION: The DEM may ask you to sign a consent form for information sharing. It is not yet clear if our children’s results will be sent to the Ministry of Education. To our knowledge, this is not the case for elementary school students in Quebec.
  • Vacations – The DEM was surprised to hear that many homeschooling families take their vacations in May-June. They suggested that we change our plans in exam years, but did not take into account the reality of large families who may find themselves with an exam every year. In school, there are no consequences if a child misses a ministerial exam, except in academic sanction. If a family goes on vacation for a month or two at the end of the school year, their children have no follow-up from the school. The same is true for the homeschooling families in terms of follow-up with the DEM. The file is simply closed.
  • Special situations – Your DEM Rep can support you in your dealings with your SB/SSC regarding special situations: exemption requests, adaptations, etc. We gave the example of a family with four children who need to write exams. They are an hour away and will have to travel 29 times from April 28 to June 20 (preparatory activities, exams, etc.) The DEM said that they could support this family to obtain more favorable conditions, such as distance preparation, or more complete preparatory documents. If you are having difficulty getting assistance from your agent, please contact [email protected].

For our part, we have reiterated that the improvisation of the SB/SSC in relation to this year’s mandatory tests is a real concern. While the DEM is well aware of this, we had to insist that homeschooling families do not have to pay for it!

There has also been some discussion about what seem to be exaggerated demands from some of the DEM Reps. Parents are afraid to object for fear of retribution. Several families have had a second meeting imposed on them. The management of the DEM assures us that the instructions have not changed. We notice that it is always the same follow-up agents who cause problems. Parents who would like to file a complaint anonymously can do so at [email protected]. The Reps do not have access to this box, but the person responsible for complaints does.