The University Flag is lowered August 9, 2018, on the day of the state funeral, for The Honourable Paul Gerin-Lajoie; C.C., G.O.Q., L.L.D. honoris causa.
Mr. Gérin-Lajoie put forward several principles: free public education, the obligation to attend school until age 16 for all Quebec youth, the establishment of the secondary education network, exchanges of higher-level students with France and improved teacher training. He created CEGEPs in 1967 and established the Université du Québec in 1968.
Paul Gérin-Lajoie is considered one of the great figures of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. As the province’s first education minister, he implemented many of the reforms recommended by the Parent Commission. He secularized the education system, created secondary schools, made it mandatory for youth to stay in school until the age of 16, established Cégeps, and facilitated access to postsecondary education by creating the loan and bursary system. Gérin-Lajoie also spearheaded Quebec’s first international accord -- a co-operation agreement with France in the field of education. He is credited with setting out what later became known as the Gérin-Lajoie doctrine: the idea that Quebec should conduct its own international relations in areas under its jurisdiction.