The Ford government required technology education for Ontario high school students

Ontario high school students in Ontario will be required to take required technology education classes to earn their diplomas, according to the education ministry – a change the Ford government hopes will increase the number of students looking to enter skills trades.

The government said technology education courses, which are mandatory starting in September 2024, will cover a wide range of sectors, including construction, transportation, manufacturing, computing, technology, hospitality and communications.

The curriculum, which was last updated in 2009, will be revised again to focus on advances in automation in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction sectors while new course material will prepare students for careers as electricians and plumbers.

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By mandating courses in Grades 9 or 10, Education Minister Stephen Lecce also said students could be inspired from an early age to pursue a career in commerce.

“We are opening doors and creating new pathways to great jobs in STEM and skilled trades,” said Lecce in a news release. “All students will benefit from a greater emphasis on experiential learning and technical skills in the classroom so they can graduate with a competitive advantage.”

The government says Ontario currently has 100,000 unfilled skilled trades jobs, which the government describes as “the largest labor shortage in a generation.”

The Ford government also indicated that the changes were designed to incentivize more female students to consider vocational jobs.

In 2020–21, the province says 39 percent of all Ontario high school students are enrolled in technology education programs. However, 63 percent of those enrolled were male students.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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