Missed lessons, near sick, computer glitches: the number of CEGEP students who had to abandon one of their courses late this fall has exploded compared to last year.
“It was not a course that was meant to be given at a distance. The workload was too high […] We had no PowerPoint, ”testifies Mathieu Vallières, 18, of one of his classes at Cégep de Sept-Îles.
In the end, about half of his class asked to be marked “permanent incomplete” for this course, he estimates.
A student can request an “incomplete” when he wishes to drop one or more courses after the withdrawal deadline, if a reason beyond his control prevented him from completing it normally. This mention does not affect its R score.
The newspaper surveyed about twenty CEGEPs located across Quebec. Of the eight who responded, all noted an increase in the number of “incomplete” in the fall.
In some cases, the increase is dramatic. At Cégep de Trois-Rivières, the number is nearly 15 times higher, going from 48 students with incomplete to 712.
“It illustrates the distress of students,” says Noémie Veilleux of the Fédération d’études collégiale du Québec (FECQ).
For example, a student who caught COVID-19, who has a poor internet connection or who suffered from a mental health problem could claim it.
” Open bar “
Valérie (fictitious name), is a psychologist in a CEGEP in the metropolis. She preferred to remain anonymous so as not to identify her clients.
“There are students who had to stay confined for 14 days and who therefore missed lab classes,” she illustrates. They therefore accumulated a delay which quickly became impossible to catch up.
For many, the context of the pandemic has caused them to lose control of their life, of their daily life, to the point of no longer being able to study, she adds.
In normal times, supporting documents, such as the support of a doctor or a psychologist, are required to claim an “incomplete” statement. But due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Higher Education has relaxed the criteria and now all you need to do is fill out a form.
“It’s a bit of an ‘open bar’,” says Valérie. “At the same time, it is an essential valve,” she believes. “If it had been necessary that [j’évalue la demande] thousands of students … ”, she imagines, laughing.
Behind the numbers
“An extraordinary situation requires extraordinary measures”, replies Noémie Veilleux.
“It’s not a freebie at all” that would lead to a discounted degree, she explains, since these students will have to retake the entire course.
But behind the figures, the reality is perhaps more stable than it seems, nuance Émilie Laramée, communications advisor at Cégep de Maisonneuve.
In this CEGEP, many more students have requested an incomplete this session, but many fewer courses have been failed. Taken together, incomplete and failures represent 16.7% of registrations in fall 2020, a percentage almost identical to last year.
Course with at least one incomplete
Students who asked an incomplete *
* A student could request an incomplete for several courses