Coalition urges government to stop stalling and implement for fall 2013
TORONTO, June 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Ophea, together with a coalition of leading health and education organizations, today released three reports that provide striking evidence of the urgent need to update the 15-year-old Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum in Ontario:
- "It's Time to Take Action for Ontario's Kids" report highlights the disturbing health trends facing Ontario's students and illustrates how a current, up-to-date curriculum will support educators in providing students with the skills and understanding they need to make healthy choices now and into the future.
- "Sexual Health Education in Schools Across Canada" report shows the limitations of Ontario's 15-year-old curriculum as the oldest in Canada, lagging far behind other Canadian provinces in terms of sexual health education. Ontario's students have been left to fill in some important gaps on their own.
- An Environics "Parent Opinion Survey on Sexual Health Education" report reveals that parents want to see sexual health education provided in schools and that they feel it is important for students to learn from an up-to-date curriculum.
"Ontario parents recognize that the world has changed in the last 15 years and kids need the knowledge and skills to make informed choices about their health and well-being," said Chris Markham, Executive Director and CEO, Ophea. "Parents are calling for an updated Health and Physical Education curriculum for elementary and secondary students. This is a clear signal that the provincial government should finalize and release the H&PE curriculum by fall 2013."
Highlights of Ophea's "Sexual Health Education Across Canada" report
- Ontario's current 15-year-old curriculum is dangerously out of date and is the oldest in Canada
- Ontario's current H&PE curriculum is out of step with provincial policies, such as the Accepting Schools Act and the Equity and Inclusive Education policy
- The withdrawn 2010 H&PE curriculum revisions for human development and sexual health were comparable to other provinces
Highlights of the Environics "Parent Opinion Survey on Sexual Health Education"
Environics Research Group, on behalf of Ophea, surveyed a sample of 1,002 parents of students in Ontario publicly funded schools. The poll showed:
- Ninety three per cent of parents are calling for an updated sexual health component to the H&PE curriculum
- Eighty seven per cent of parents support the teaching of sexual health education in schools as part of overall health education
- Nine in ten parents are comfortable with their child receiving information about sexual health from a school curriculum
- Parents are very uncomfortable with children receiving sexual health information from peers, TV and movies, the internet and social media
- Parents feel that topics perceived by some as controversial or sensitive should be included in curriculum
"Ontario students have a right to an up-to-date, research-based curriculum that meets their needs in today's world. At the moment, Ontario lags far behind other provinces in Canada," said Dr. James Mandigo, President of Ophea's Board of Directors. "In fact Ontario's curriculum is the oldest in Canada and the H&PE curriculum must be updated to bring us up to the national standard of education that is being set by other provinces."
"The development of the 2010 H&PE curriculum was the result of a comprehensive two-year process that involved gathering evidence from around the world and consultations with thousands of experts, parents and—for the first time ever--students themselves," said Annie Kidder, Executive Director of People for Education. "The result was an innovative approach to give students the knowledge and skills to be healthy today and in the future."
In April 2010 the Liberal government withdrew the elementary H&PE curriculum related to issues concerning the human development and sexual health component and committed to additional parent consultations. It has been over three years since that commitment was made. The government also backed away from releasing the H&PE secondary curriculum in the fall of 2011.
Ontario students deserve a current, research-based curriculum that meets their needs in today's complex and ever-changing world and they have waited long enough. Ophea and 50 provincial and national organizations are calling on the government of Ontario to finalize and release an updated H&PE curriculum by fall 2013.
Video with caption: "Our Right To Learn Student Video: Ontario's students are missing their voice without a current up-to-date Health and Physical Education curriculum. Learn more at www.ourrighttolearn.ca". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130603_C4428_VIDEO_EN_27418.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130603_C4428_PHOTO_EN_27418.jpg&clientName=Ophea&caption=Our%20Right%20To%20Learn%20Student%20Video%3A%20Ontario%27s%20students%20are%20missing%20their%20voice%20without%20a%20current%20up%2Dto%2Ddate%20Health%20and%20Physical%20Education%20curriculum%2E%20Learn%20more%20at%20www%2Eourrighttolearn%2Eca&title=Our%20Right%20To%20Learn%20Student%20Video%3A%20Ontario%27s%20students%20are%20missing%20their%20voice%20without%20a%20current%20up%2Dto%2Ddate%20Health%20and%20Physical%20Education%20curriculum%2E%20Learn%20more%20at%20www%2EOurRightToLearn%2Eca&headline=93%20per%20cent%20of%20Ontario%20parents%20call%20for%20an%20updated%20health%20and%20physical%20education%20curriculum%20to%20replace%2015%20year%20old%20document
For further information: