MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 15, 2011- Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin visited English Montreal School Board (EMSB) alternative high schools, Options I and II, in Ville Émard on Friday November 4 to inspire students to stay in school.
“Since I left government I have focused most of my time on education,” stated Mr. Martin. “The difference between success and a lack of success is the degree of education. Canada is a very wealthy country and the opportunities we have for young people are limitless. But these opportunities depend upon the quality of education you receive.”
Mr. Martin explained that the reason why today’s generation of society is smarter than those who came before us 100 or 200 years ago is because they did not have the same body of knowledge. “People who came before discovered and learned new things. What you are here to do in school is to pick up on the knowledge they created.”
Like a teacher in class, Mr. Martin carried on a nice back and forth discussion with the students. Noting that he had some speaking engagements planned for the aboriginal communities, he sought their advice on the kind of subjects he could raise to emphasize the importance of a good education.
During his time in office, Mr. Martin was the Member of Parliament for the riding of LaSalle-Émard. He said he was pleased to visit a school that was part of his constituency.
The EMSB’s alternative outreach school system is designed to provide an opportunity for students who have left school before graduation to return to a different educational setting. Nine schools offer a variety of programs accommodating both English and French students. The system is designed to help students continue their studies in a less formal atmosphere. Some programs lead to sufficient credits for a high school leaving certificate, while others permit the student to return to a regular high school setting. In some cases, the student is prepared for entry into the job market. Developed by the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSBGM) more than 30 years ago in order to recruit students who had already dropped out of school, the Outreach system has evolved over the years and the focus has now become preventative in nature.