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Province Announces Major Overhaul of High School Graduation Requirements

TORONTO — In a landmark move, the Ontario government announced a comprehensive overhaul of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements, the first major update in 25 years. This initiative aims to equip students with essential life skills and better prepare them for the demands of the modern workforce.

The new reforms, unveiled today by Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, include introducing a financial literacy graduation requirement, enhancing career education, and reintroducing modernized home economics education. The changes are part of a broader effort to align educational outcomes with the skills needed in today’s economy.

Financial Literacy Requirement

Starting in 2025, Ontario students will need to pass a financial literacy assessment to graduate. This assessment, integrated into the Grade 10 math curriculum, will cover critical skills such as budgeting, saving, investing, and fraud protection. Students will need to score at least 70% to meet the graduation requirement. Additionally, the province will make the EQAO Grade 9 Math scores account for at least 10% of a student’s final grade, a practice already used by many educators.

“Too many parents, employers, and students themselves tell me that graduates lack sufficient financial literacy and basic life skills,” said Lecce. “By elevating life skills in the classroom, along with better career education and higher math standards on educators, we are setting up every student for life-long success.”

Career Education and Support

The reforms also include a significant investment in career education, with up to $14 million allocated for career coaching for Grade 9 and 10 students. This funding will support programs that expose students to skilled trades and STEM fields and provide resources for at-risk youth and those in youth justice facilities.

Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, emphasized the importance of this initiative. “All children and youth in Ontario deserve to have the resources and supports they need to succeed and thrive. Today’s announcement is an important step as we work to empower youth-at-risk and those involved in the justice system with the tools they need to get their life on the right track,” Parsa stated.

Enhanced Guidance and Counselling

To further support students, the province will revise the Additional Qualification guidelines for guidance counsellors, ensuring they receive up-to-date training on labor market trends and career opportunities. School boards will be required to provide ongoing professional development for counsellors to maintain their effectiveness in helping students navigate their future careers.

Consultation on Practical Life Skills

In the fall, the government will launch consultations with parents, educators, and experts to identify essential life skills that should be included in the curriculum. Potential topics include nutritious cooking, sewing, first aid, personal finance, and basic economics.

“By focusing on personal development and practical skills, we are responding to the needs of employers and setting students up for success in all areas of life,” Lecce added.

Broad Support and Future Steps

The initiative has garnered broad support from various stakeholders, including educators and industry leaders, who recognize the need for a curriculum that better prepares students for the realities of the modern world.

As the government embarks on these reforms, consultations with the community will play a crucial role in shaping the final implementation. These changes mark a significant step toward ensuring that Ontario’s education system remains relevant and effective in preparing students for their future careers and personal lives.

For more information and to participate in the upcoming consultations, visit the Ministry of Education’s website.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at samantha.deschamps@gtaweekly.ca.

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