The Gleaner

NFSB welcomes new education dashboard

The Quebec government has launched a new education dashboard to publicly track and transparently report information about the sector.

The platform provides access to relevant and reliable information on nine indicators, including graduation rates at different levels, the results of ministerial examinations at the secondary level, job vacancies, and air quality in schools. Some of the statistics are available at the provincial level, while others are searchable and provide data on specific school boards or service centres.

“Having access to data is essential to making informed decisions and providing better support for our students,” said Education minister Bernard Drainville, in a post to social media.

The New Frontiers School Board is on the same page. “Our feeling is that it is good. The more information we have, the better,” says John Ryan, who chairs the NFSB’s Council of Commissioners. He admits however, that the way the new tool was announced by the Education Ministry was perhaps less appreciated. “It caught everyone off guard,” he says, suggesting there was absolutely no advance warning given to school boards or service centres that this information would be made so public.

For example, the dashboard shows general statistics such as the total number of students registered with the NFSB, but also detailed information on success rates for each ministerial exam. According to the platform, there were 3,164 jobs available within the public education sector as of last January, including two teaching and three support staff positions at the NFSB, and 21 positions within the Centre de services scolaire de la Vallée-des-Tisserands. It is also possible to compare between service centres or school boards.

Some within the sector have criticized the dashboard because it could pit boards or service centres against one another. Ryan says concerns over competition are real but may not be the best way to approach the dashboard and its usage. “There is such variety in schools from one region or community to another, including their social portraits,” he says, suggesting the tool works well to provide a more complete picture of what is going on within each board or service centre.

“Having access to more data and more tools that we can work with is an immediate plus,” he says.

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