MIRABEL, Que. - There will be a lot less late-afternoon texting and TV watching for Quebec high-school students if Francois Legault has his way.
The leader of the Coalition for Quebec's Future says he would adjust secondary-school opening hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. if he becomes premier, to better reflect the schedule of modern families and to help fight the province's high dropout rate.
Legault says he wants to put an end to adolescents going home in the middle of the afternoon and playing video games alone in the house. Instead, they would do extracurricular activities — like sports, cultural classes, or get help with their homework.
"Those famous yellow buses wouldn't leave at 3:30 p.m. anymore. They'll leave schools at 5 p.m.," Legault said at a campaign stop in Mirabel, just north of Montreal.
The measure would be implemented over five years and cost $290 million when fully implemented. He said it would be introduced first in poor neighbourhoods, with high dropout rates.
He said teachers wouldn't be forced to stick around longer, or work the extra hour. Those who choose to, he said, would get a pay raise. Legault said the plan would have to be negotiated with teachers' unions.
Quebecers go to the polls on Sept. 4.