It seems these days all of the recent focus in the Canadian K-12 distance, online, and blended learning community has been on the proposed changes in Ontario (with some good reason to be honest). However, there have been interesting developments over the past two years in the field occurring in the province next door – Quebec.
In the 2018 report, in the Quebec profile we wrote:
….a 2017 amendment to the Loi sur l’instruction publique stated:
459.5.3 The Minister may develop and implement a pilot project to test or innovate distance education or to study, improve or define standards in this area.
This provision allows the Minister to authorize a pilot project that would:
- offer distance education services, authorize the offering of such services to a school board or an educational institution governed by the Loi sur l’enseignement privé or authorize a person to receive them according to standards different from those provided for by the Loi sur l’instruction publique or the Loi sur l’enseignement privé, while ensuring respect for the right to free educational services;
- establish, by directives, the norms and rules applicable. It may also, at any time, modify the project or terminate it after notifying any interested party. A pilot project has a maximum duration of three years, which the Minister may, if he considers it necessary, extend for a maximum of two years. The Minister shall make and publish an evaluation of the pilot project every two years and an evaluation at the end of the pilot project.
To summarize, Bill 144 – which was passed on November 2017 – amended to the Loi sur l’instruction publique to allow the Minister to authorize pilot projects that would permit students, both those who were registered with a school board and those who were homeschooled, to enroll in online courses offered by a recognized school board. These pilot projects could last up to five years under the amendment, and the Minister was asked to make and publish an evaluation of the pilot project every two years and an evaluation at the end of the pilot project.
The Government then released a Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education, with the following orientations:
- support the development of the digital skills of young people and adults;
- make use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning practices; and
- create an environment conducive to the development of digital technologies in the education system. (p. 1)
Embedded within the second orientation is the specific objective to “foster the development of distance education offerings based on needs at the various levels of education” (p. 46). It is worth highlighting some of the key aspects of their report related to the K-12 environment.
This screenshot is page 47 of the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.
This screenshot is page 48 of the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.
This screenshot is page 71 of the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.
This screenshot is page 72 of the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.
This screenshot is page 74 of the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.
Again, the full Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education can be found at:
Full disclosure: One of the programs highlighted in this plan is LEARN, which is a sponsor of the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada annual study.