Career Studies Upgrades on the Way

The province of Ontario has recently introduced a plan to update and improve the current Grade 10 career studies course. Key to these changes are a focus on financial and digital literacy, as well as an expansion of hands-on learning opportunities.

The new course is slated to start in September 2018, and will also have students learning about career pathway planning, and innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

The province also plans to increase hands-on learning opportunities, and every board will hire a new coordinator, whose role will be to expand learning opportunities with community partners, for all grades, courses and programs, from kindergarten all the way to adult learners.

First of all, I think this is excellent news for a few reasons. Experts have long been saying that financial literacy needs to be taught in schools so it is encouraging to see it being addressed here. Also, as more and more of our lives shift to online platforms, being digitally literate becomes more crucial, so I think including that is another step in the right direction.

I am also very glad to see an expansion of hands-on learning opportunities, as I’ve long believed that one of the best ways to learn about a possible career is to observe it first-hand. Co-op, job shadowing and bringing in guest speakers to share the realities of various jobs are all great ways to expose students to the many potential career paths they can take.

Along with all of my positive thoughts around these upgrades, I do have some reservations as well. First of all, I’m wondering what exactly is meant by “innovation and creativity.” These terms are quite broad, and it isn’t immediately evident to me how these will be applied to career development. It’s one thing to use industry buzzwords to bolster interest in the initiative, and another thing to apply those terms in a concrete way.  I will be curious to find out what that will look like in this upgraded course.

My other concern has to do with the actual rollout of this new course. I think it’s great that so many people will be hired to implement these new initiatives, but I wonder how consistent their efforts will be. Will there be some standard each coordinator is held to, or will they be able to do whatever they feel is best for their board regardless of what the other coordinators are doing? The potential pitfall is that there could be a disparity between what some boards are able to achieve, as compared to other boards. Only time will tell how this works, with more information to come as the new course is introduced.

So, kudos to the province for their efforts to update the information provided to students. Here’s hoping the rollout is smooth, and the students benefit from a much stronger career studies course. It’s a good step in the right direction, if done well.



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