Centre DÉBAT: The Story
A gamble supporting autonomy and knowledge
At the origin of the creation of the Centre DÉBAT and its establishment in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve/
Mercier district in 1991, a shared passion moved the two founders, Lise Duplain and
Johanne Bisson, then two students in Literacy Education at UQAM: to allow individuals
with little schooling to break free from their social and economic isolation by giving
them access to a basic literacy training adapted to their needs and environment.
It was a dynamic training, in constant evolution, given in the workplace, and based
on both research and the awareness of the specific realities of the area as well
as the people involved in the training.
Close and productive partnerships
Fully committed to keeping this gamble alive, right from the beginning the Centre
DÉBAT worked in collaboration with community and socio-economic workers from the
district, and succeeded in establishing flexible and productive partnerships with
several among them. It was with Cartons St-Laurent, Lavo, Lallemand Inc., the Guichet
multi-services, the Commission scolaire de la Pointe de l'Ile, the CDEST project,
by way of integration, as well as the Chic Resto Pop, la Cuisine collective Hochelaga-Maisonneuve,
through workplace integration, the Bureaux d'Antoine, SOS Vélo and Éco-quartier Pierre-de-Coubertin,
that the training projects, adjusted according to their development strategies, were
developed and carried out to the benefit of the workers and organizations.
A willingness and determination to remain tuned-in
Conscious of the dynamic and evolutionary character of the learning process, and
determined to remain close to the people and partners, the Centre DÉBAT not stopping
at perfecting its approach, attributed a high priority to research and development.
It not only designed didactic material specifically for people in difficulty, but
also created, for individuals with little schooling and in collaboration with the
l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), the first ever cognitive
education program, Learning to Learn, which in turn contributed to the creation of
the program Apprends-moi à apprendre (Teach me to Learn).