MONTREAL, AUGUST 15, 2012 – With the goal of ensuring that students learn a trade to ensure a successful future, Programme Mile End is spearheading the Projet Pedagogiques Particuliers, an initiative that will prepare Grade 9 students to one-day step into the vocational marketplace. Programme Mile End is part of the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) Alternative School Network.
Spearheaded by Shab Shattha, the head teacher at Programme Mile End and Ophir Ben-Jacob, the facilitator of the Project Pedagogiques Particuliers, the school is the first EMSB institution to adopt this project. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to develop skills which will lead to a trade that will turn them into productive and successful adults.
“This is a new approach to education which holds the fact that we are not all designated for an academic path; that many of us will and should pursue a vocational path and more-over, that the entrepreneurial spirit within our youth must be revived and encouraged systematically within our school systems,” said Ophir Ben-Jacob. “If we aim at identifying and supporting future doctors, lawyers, scientists, athletes and mathematicians, we should also to the same extent, identify and encourage young entrepreneurship which is finally at the heart of future economic revival across North America.
“This has two objectives in its core: firstly, to keep these teens in a proper structure that will keep them from dropping out. Secondly, to replenish the vocational market place with electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders and others” added Ben-Jacob. “Current vocational workers are all at a retirement age and in the future we will be confronted with a service-bound society that has no-one to supply these services.”
Ben-Jacob, will guide and lead the students to pursue their passions and interests in an independent and organized manner. According to Ben-Jacob, the students will also go through a process of self-discovery and self-exploration.
Throughout the project, Programme Mile End will document via film the student’s progress and eventual integration within the vocational school as well as far beyond; integration into the work and career market, where the students will become contributing and productive citizens. The camera will follow a small group of students from start to the so-called integration finish line.
Additionally, the students will also take part in the mechanics of documenting their own experience. They will also work as a group to support the filmmaker and cameramen; to learn the art of filmmaking and film production from techniques to editing.
“Shab Shattah has brilliantly not only allowed for an important process to be documented but also, more importantly, allowed for the very process to work as a teaching tool,” said Ben-Jacob. “By working with the filmmakers, students will gain experience and be empowered by knowledge, self-reflection and introspection through the unforgiving eye of the camera.
“There is a significant investment being made in promoting the vocational schools and vocational path as well as in the revival of the entrepreneurial spirit from early-on within our high schools,” he added. “Some of these kids will go into the vocational schools right after grade 9 and we, the educators, are on the front lines of a $2.6 billion government and private sector initiative to revive the entrepreneurial spirit within our youth.”