Canadian Club Toronto was pleased to welcome the Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s Minister of Education, this past Monday, May 8th, 2017.
Bright, warm and enthusiastic, Minister Hunter praised the Ontario education system and its students that have achieved excellence in reading, writing and numeracy. She also came bearing good news: Ontario’s graduation rate has now reached a historic high of 86.5%, going up an entire 14% since 2004. While these monumental achievements by our students are cause for celebration, Minister Hunter insisted that there’s still room for improvement. She announced that the Ontario government is in the process of rolling out a 3 part plan to build on student success and address student needs in the classroom.
The first part looks at strengthening the core competencies. Citing recent EQAO scores, Minister Hunter suggested that mathematics is an area that requires more attention inside and outside the classroom. The new plan will recommend that elementary students engage in one hour of math a day whilst making use of innovative new resources and free access to online tutoring help.
The second step, Minister Hunter said, will be a new and improved focus on curriculum assessment and teaching methods. This entails utilizing new technologies like 3D printers, and integrating skills like robotics and coding into everyday learning. The Minister also announced an initiative to give every student in Ontario access to 1 megabyte, emphasizing a need for reliable broadband connectivity in schools.
Thirdly, the government’s plan will look to increase the number and quality of opportunities that students have to explore different career avenues. The centre of this pillar is the Ontario government’s Careers Kickstart Strategy, which is a commitment to provide $190 million over the next 3 years to create 40,000 new jobs. There will also be a push for broader experiential learning opportunities and a focus on supporting students in the Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) programs.
Minister Mitzie Hunter’s address to the Canadian Club was one was filled with pride, recognizing the impressive achievements of Ontario students and educators. But just as importantly, Minister Hunter’s voice was hopeful that these new commitments will facilitate even more future success for students.
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Special thanks to the Honourable Mitzie Hunter for being a guest of Canadian Club Toronto. Thanks extended to David Simmonds for hosting the event, and to Willa Black for thanking.