Major study explores why young people don't pursue higher learning



    TORONTO, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - Ontario's 24 colleges have commissioned the most
comprehensive research study ever conducted into the attitudes of high school
students who won't be pursuing any postsecondary education after high school.
    "Ontario needs to understand why so many people are not fulfilling their
potential," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario.
"Postsecondary education and training is becoming a necessity in today's
workplace, yet one-third of Ontario citizens ages 25 to 34 have only a high
school education, or less. We need to know what Ontario must do to address
this."
    This first of its kind study, commissioned by Colleges Ontario, is being
conducted by Alan King and Wendy Warren of Queen's University's Social Program
Evaluation Group (SPEG). The initial phase of the $250,000 study is scheduled
to be completed next fall.
    The study will seek to determine the characteristics of those secondary
school students who do not proceed to postsecondary education. The study will
consider a broad range of variables including demographic considerations,
education and geography.
    The study will include interviews with respondents to obtain information
which will help clarify, elaborate on, and gain insight on issues arising from
previous studies and the statistical analyses. Colleges Ontario will use the
results to develop proposals to increase postsecondary attainment rates in the
province.
    Franklin said it is essential that greater numbers of people attain
postsecondary education and training. Currently, there is a need to provide
more training and retraining to people who have lost their jobs in the
changing economy, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and forestry.
    Furthermore, the province is on the verge of a major skills shortage. If
current trends continue, Ontario will have a shortage of 360,000 skilled
employees by 2025, affecting much of the province's economy. Franklin said it
will be essential that every person has the education and training to make a
meaningful contribution in the workplace.
    Colleges Ontario's funding partners for the study include the Canada
Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Higher Education Quality Council of
Ontario, and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
    "It is essential that every person in Ontario, from every income group
and from all walks of life, has the opportunity to succeed," Franklin said.
"Producing a highly educated and well-trained workforce must be a priority for
this province. This research will help determine how we best achieve this."

    King and Warren are leading experts in Ontario on issues involving high
school students and their perceptions of postsecondary education. Their past
work has included an extensive study of the double cohort in Ontario following
the restructuring of the province's secondary school curriculum.

    Colleges Ontario is the voice of Ontario's 24 colleges of applied arts
and technology. Ontario colleges serve about 200 communities throughout the
province, delivering a wide range of career-focused education and training
programs to more than 200,000 full-time and 250,000 part-time students.





For further information:

For further information: Darrell Neufeld, Senior Communications Officer,
Colleges Ontario, (416) 596-0744, ext. 242, neufeld@collegesontario.org


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