Slam Dunk for Education

by Jon Pereira on January 27, 2015 - 9:30am

In an attempt to help reduce Quebec’s ever high dropout rate, three basketball coaches have put together a team regrouping players from 5 neighboring alternative schools in Montreal. The Alternative United team encourages young boys to stay in school. Since missing class equals missing a game, the boys are not only motivated to play basketball, but also wish to do well in school. Not only do the players have to cope with the team’s lack of resources, but they are also in the middle of an important battle: finishing school. For these boys, who come from disadvantaged homes and have learning difficulties, being on the basketball team gives them a reason to come clean and provide the necessary effort to succeed. By competing against other schools, basketball has shown these players that regardless of their learning difficulties, it remains possible for them to compete in a sport and still manage to pass in school.  For players such as Jerome Brown, basketball serves as extra motivation to go to CEGEP. Since there is no question as whether the boys could make the collegiate basketball team, it remains up to them to continue working hard in school. For these young men, basketball has served as their school and encouraged them to put the same effort into school.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2012 Labour Force Survey, Quebec’s dropout rate is the highest of any province in Canada at 10.6 per cent. Even though Quebec’s dropout rates are lower today than they were 20 years ago, boys are failing at a far higher rate, as 70% of students in Montreal’s alternative schools are boys. This represents a growing issue as boys in all provinces of Canada, especially Quebec, have shown increasing difficulties to succeed in school. More programs similar to this one should be introduced in schools since it is known that boys don’t learn as girls do. Also, boys need more male guidance and good role models. Given the fact that many kids enjoy sports, physical activity should also have a greater place in our education system.

The article, “Finding Confidence on the Court", written by Colin Throness, was published in the local news section of the Montreal Gazette website on the 22nd of February 2015. To read the whole article, just follow the link: believe this is a reliable source since the Gazette is a very well renowned news outlet and the leading Anglophone newspaper in the city of Montreal.