When the Ontario high school graduation rate rose above 80% last year many teachers felt that their efforts were finally crowned with success. But were they? I ask, because students surveyed in Ontario recently by C.B.C. Canada admitted to feeling ill-prepared for either post-secondary education, or a life on their own. If this is true, then the education they are receiving falls seriously short of what should be its goal.
When questioned further, the reasons high school Canadian students mentioned included a short basic four year high school program, little time-management training and a huge gap between school and university standards. So what of the much vaunted leap from a 68% pass rate six years ago to above 80% now? Are Canadian educators just chasing numbers?
Some agree, and say the grades are hollow and inflated, and that school boards are content to allow their students to coast through. Others blame a marked lack of effort in preparing scholars for the transition. It is almost as if in some quarters schools are unable to see beyond themselves.
Expectations can be self-fulfilling prophecies and, if this is the case here too then this does not bode well at all for Canada university results in years to come. Some have another take on this - they say that in pre nanny-state times it was the job of universities, not schools to close the academic gap and students were expected to survive.
Is it possible that the opinions of students garnered by C.B.C. Canada could be expressing a modern blame culture? Are young people across the world being less encouraged to shoulder responsibility for their actions, just as governments are wont to do these days? If it becomes too easy, and all Canadian high school students obtain degrees then this will surely diminish their commercial value? And, besides, surely four years is time sufficient for high school Canadian students to prepare themselves for Canada university success.