Young people re-entering the education system is a significant social phenomenon that covers a wide range of situations.

The past decade has seen a massive influx of youth into adult education programs.

The past decade has seen a massive influx of youth into adult education programs. However, 50% to 60% of people who return to school in Canada do not obtain a diploma.

Our multidisciplinary team, composed of researchers and practitioners from 4 countries (Québec, Spain, France, Belgium), undertook a research-action-training project with 3 objectives: 1. to understand the school re-entry processes of 16-20 year olds; 2. to formalize educational support practices aimed at this population; 3. to use knowledge mobilization to create a joint training space for the development, improvement and testing of multi-level concerted support practices.

We conducted a comparative study based on biographical interviews with young people who are in the process of resuming their education and most of whom come from a working-class background. At the time of dropping out, alienation from school is part of an incompatibility between different normative systems (school, family, peers). For these youth, school is a refuge for learning, growing and living that is in contrast with the family environment.

The need to develop a global approach to educational support led us to carry out studies on a number of levels. We began by formalizing the specific contribution of dropout-prevention community organizations into six main characteristics: 1) a living environment; 2) an action framework; 3) a four-stage support process; 4) multi-level forms of support; 5) innovative practices structured around the needs of the community; 6) varying degrees of autonomy and complementarity.

Main researcher

Danielle Desmarais, Université du Québec à Montréal


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: March 2015