OTTAWA, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's system of education and skills
remains one of the best in the world, but needs to do much better at
matching what Canadians learn to evolving labour market needs.
Canada ranks second only to Finland among 16 developed countries in The
Conference Board of Canada's Education and Skills report card. As part of its overall "A" grade, Canada earns "A"s on
seven of 20 indicators - including the second-highest rate of high school completion, and the top rate of college completion.
"Canada gives its students a first-rate education at the primary and
secondary levels," said Daniel Muzyka, President and CEO, The Conference Board of Canada. "Our priority must
be to build on this strong foundation to make Canada more innovative,
competitive, and dynamic."
"A pressing need is to strengthen the links between high school and the
post-secondary system. Within the post-secondary system, we must
improve coordination among offerings, thereby creating better pathways
to workplaces, jobs and careers. And Canadian employers need to step
forward with increased resources for education and retraining of their
Canada delivers a high-quality education to people between the ages of 5
and 19 with modest spending compared to its peers.
Only 21 per cent of Canada's university graduates are in science, math,
computer science and engineering, the third consecutive year that this
share has declined.
The gender gap in education has reversed: only 83 men graduate from
Canadian universities and colleges for every 100 women.
Canada's current educational approach is inadequate for many people who,
for one reason or another, have not acquired skills in traditional
Canada's university completion rate is a "B" grade. In the United States, which gets an "A" grade on
this indicator, people may be more motivated to compete university
because of the high returns on their university investments.
Canadian university graduates get a comparatively lower payback for
their educational investment, according to two new indicators. Canada
gets a "B" for return on investment in post-secondary education (women), and "C" for return on investment in post-secondary education (men). On another new indicator, Canada has relatively significant gender gap in tertiary education - for every 100 women who graduate from universities and colleges, only
83 men do so.
And Canada continues to get a "C" grade for percentage of university graduates in science, math, computer science
and engineering, and a "D" in the number of PhD graduates.
"Even though the number of PhD graduates has grown by three per cent
annually over the past decade, we are still second-to-last among our
peers on the PhD graduate rate, and our share of graduates in math,
science, computer science and engineering is declining," said Muzyka.
The Conference Board of Canada is launching a Centre on Skills and
Post-Secondary Education to investigate how Canada can meet its rising
skills needs through broad changes to its post-secondary system.
Canada earns an "A" grade on two other new indicators to the report
the difference in reading test scores between 15-year old students in
the most and least disadvantaged schools; and
equity in learning outcomes in reading between Canadian-born students (who speak the language of
the test at home) and the children of immigrants (who do not speak the
language of the test at home).
The final two new indicators are the foreign student index, where Canada gets a "B" grade; and adult participation in non-formal job-related education, where Canada gets a "C" grade and ranks 10th of 15 countries.
This relatively low grade on non-formal job-related training illustrates
how Canada lags in workplace skills training and lifelong education.
Canadian employers' investments in workplace training programs lag far
behind European and U.S. competitors, and only a very small percentage
of what they do invest—less than two per cent—goes to basic literacy skills.
How Canada Performs is a multi-year research program at The Conference Board of Canada to
help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's
socio-economic performance. The How Canada Performs website presents data and analysis on Canada's performance compared to
16 peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448