Based on international test scores and evaluation, Ontario has one of the top 10 education systems in the world.
Ontario’s economic success depends on a strong, publicly- funded education system. That means investing in skills and education and helping students of all ages reach their full potential.
Today, Ontario students are ranked among the best in the world, have higher test scores and more than ever are graduating and going on to college, university or an apprenticeship.
That is just some of the good news found in Ontario’s 2011 Progress Report. The annual Progress Report shows the results Ontarians are achieving together.
Full-day kindergarten, more spaces for college and university students, and an increase in apprentices are some of Ontario’s education achievements.
Other achievements include:
• A high school graduation rate of 81 per cent in 2009-10, up from 68 per cent in 2003–04.
• Over 44,000 laid-off workers have enrolled in training funded through Second Career.
• Programs and services across Ontario have helped over 41,000 newcomers get language training and become job-ready or licensed in their field since 2003 with more than 220 bridge training programs.
“We believe that education is the most important investment we can make on behalf of the people of Ontario and for our future,” said Leona Dombrowsky, former Minister of Education.
“Ontario’s education system is one of the best in the world, and we must keep building on what we’ve achieved. That’s why we’re committed to investing in our strongest resource – our people.”
Another Ontario government spokesperson said, “Companies invest in Ontario for all kinds of reasons, including our highly-skilled workforce. We need to keep investing in education for both new and experienced workers and do what we can to keep Ontario competitive in our global economy.”
• The government plans to put full-day kindergarten in all Ontario schools by 2014.
• In Ontario, 64 per cent of adults have completed post-secondary education. The new target is 70 per cent.
Plans on finding ways to helping students succeed include offering voluntary summer learning across the province to help struggling elementary students.
Experts say that summer learning loss results from a gap in learning during the summer months.
Many students experience some kind of learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. In fact, research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
In 2008, the Canadian Council on Learning found that on average summer learning loss cost students one month of teaching.
The 2004 report, Schools, Achievement, and Inequality: A Seasonal Perspective, also found that students from at-risk communities experience more summer learning loss than others.
The current school year calendar – used throughout North America – means that during the summer students disengage from the classroom.
When they return in September, teachers must go back over lessons from the previous grade, reintroducing concepts and ideas before the new curriculum can be taught.
Keeping kids engaged in learning during the summer will combat summer learning loss so they can return to school in September ready to pick up where they left off.
“Voluntary summer learning programs will help struggling students stay engaged in learning so they come back in September ready to go,” said Dombrowsky.
The summer learning programs will give students in grades 1-3 the chance to improve their reading, writing and math skills so they’re ready to take on the next grade.
Typically students’ skills decline in the summer months when they are out of the classroom – having them engaged in learning during the summer will keep their knowledge sharp.
About 7,500 students will be able to take advantage of the new learning programs which will be available in schools across the province.
Supporting struggling students will help Ontario reach its goal of at least 75 per cent of students achieving and exceeding our standards in provincial testing.
In 2010, summer learning programs were offered to students at GTA, northern and rural school boards as a pilot.
The two-week programs were delivered by teachers and aimed at students entering grade 2 and 3, to help them get caught up with their peers.
The new summer learning programs will be available in every school board for students in grades 1-3.