Montreal

Quebec parents can't be compelled to buy kids iPads for class, province says

You can remove "tablet computer" from the long list of supplies required by your children’s schools — the Quebec government has deemed that public schools can’t compel parents to buy tablets.

Tablet computers useful classroom tool, says Quebec City school director

The assault happened over an iPad (Nathan Lambrecht/Canadian Press)

Making your school supplies shopping list?

You can remove "tablet computer" from the long list of supplies required by your children's schools — the Quebec government has deemed that public schools can't compel parents to buy tablets.

Rather, the schools should provide them free of charge to students, according to the province's Education Ministry.

The government sent a letter to school boards on July 23 informing them of its decision. The ministry had been looking into the matter after a public high school in Quebec City made iPads mandatory back in 2014.

Quebec's law on public education stipulates that mandatory school materials have to be provided by the school for students' use.

Quebec City school disagrees

But Yves Savard, the director of Summit School in Quebec City, said he's annoyed the province is meddling in his school's affairs.

He said that parents were consulted — and agreed to — the proposal to equip students with tablets on their parents' dime.

"We didn't ask three parents. We met with 300, 350," Savard said. "We can't stop now, the project is already going ahead. I consulted with parents and they agreed. We did things the right way."

He also said that the school looked at ways of reducing the financial burden on parents.

"By buying in bulk, we have certain rebates," he said.

The Quebec Federation of Parent Committees said if schools can't ask parents to pay, and can't pay themselves, it's up to the government to come up with the money.

President Corinne Payne said tablets have been used in the private sector for some time and have proven their value.

"Many children already have an iPad at home, or some sort of technology. This new generation of children is much more advanced than we were, so for sure there are going to be other schools that are going to want to move forward and have this technology in their school and projects that will be beneficial for the children and their schools," Payne said.​

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now