Pandemic pressures on Estrie youth and school-work balance

Pandemic pressures on Estrie youth and school-work balance

By Geoff Agombar
Local Journalism Initiative

The pandemic has affected so many facets of home and work life. Educational institutions in the Townships are flagging another concern: school-work balance.

Partners for Education Success Estrie (Projet PRÉE), School-Work Balance Estrie and Entreprendre Sherbrooke want to raise awareness about increased pressures on educational success as young people face new challenges to balance their job and their studies.

The partners point to pandemic labour shortages as one pressure that may be contributing to increased reports of absenteeism and students falling asleep in class. Some students are working 15-20 hours a week, exceeding recommendations for healthy time management.

There are also accounts of students as young as 12 or 13 taking paid work, an age where they may have less capacity to manage these demands on their time appropriately.

In the Estrie region, 58 per cent of high schoolers reported having a job, according to unpublished data compiled from a survey by the Chaire-réseau de recherche sur la jeunesse du Québec (Quebec Youth Research Network Chair) in 2020.

The number was higher among girls (63 per cent) than boys (53 per cent). Of those, 46 per cent worked more than 15 hours per week. More than fifteen hours per week was considered detrimental on performance and overall health, and represented an increased risk of dropping out.
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