New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Governance by Results in the Québec Educational System: Issues and Challenges

Valérie Djédjé, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) (Canada)


The objective of this paper is to present the issues and challenges for the Québec education system of what is called "results-based management" (RBM). Indeed, the law on public administration (Law 82, 2000) formalized the adoption of the RBM model, defined as follows: "Results-Based Management is a management approach based on measurable results responding to objectives and targets previously defined according to the services to be provided. It occurs in a context of transparency, accountability and flexibility with regard to the means used to achieve the goals." (Secretariat of the Council of the Treasury Board, 2002, p. 9)

Thus, following the promulgation of Law 82, all departments, including that of education, were required to publish their "strategic plan," with quantified objectives and mechanisms to evaluate the achievement of these objectives, and on which the minister and his administration would have to report to the legislature. Subsequently, Law 124, adopted in 2002, forced school boards (SB) to publish a "strategic plan" and to report on its implementation in their jurisdiction. Similarly, the state required educational establishments to produce "success plans" to ensure the implementation of their educational projects. In 2008, Law 88 promulgated new provisions. Within the framework of a "partnership agreement," the SB must agree with the department on the measures required to ensure the implementation of their strategic plans, which should appear in the department's strategic plan.

RBM is a policy to alter the institutional regulatory procedures within the education system substantially (Maroy, 2008). Schematically, one may contend that it is providing new tools for management (strategic plans) or regulation (contractualization, accountability, indicators and monitoring tools) which should better "align" schools' objectives and functions with contractually fixed targets at "higher" action levels, those of the school board and the Ministry of Education (MEQ).

Therefore, this alignment is oriented towards "results" at different levels of the system. An initial analysis suggests that this is a Quebec version of an accountability system (Lessard & Meirieu, 2004) and regulatory approaches based on evaluation, contracting, planning, control and managerial monitoring of the actions taken, in conjunction with existing bureaucratic or professional regulations (Maroy, 2008) .

However, the implementation of RBM involves significant challenges. Québec teachers' and principals' unions maintain that a school is not a private enterprise. Therefore, they reject an accounting approach to student success and are opposed to quantitative targets for success in schools. This paper will contribute to the debate on school governance.

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