A few weeks ago I wrote about going back to school and the B.C. Liberal government's Jobs Plan.
Time for an update. In following the "occupy" movement, a number of issues have permeated to the forefront. Interviews with many participants in the protest, both here and elsewhere, have clearly illustrated a sense of angst and frustration. The 99 per cent /one per cent analogy is a little off the mark to me, but I get the premise.
What has come across, is the feeling of hopelessness, particularly within the younger protest demographic. I had always thought this was a main driver of the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots as well.
Let's think about this for a second. Competition for well paying jobs is stiff. If you have been lucky enough to attend university as a young adult today, there is no guarantee you will gain employ in your chosen field.
Teenagers considering university are aware of this at an earlier age.
In Grade 10, the process begins. Counsellors and teachers attempt to illustrate career opportunities and begin the process so that a 15-or 16-year-old can plan their futures within an uncertain world. How much fun does that sound?
The uncertain world is a daunting place.
In our neck of the woods, the kids can start doing the math to see what they need to afford the average price of a home in Metro Vancouver. At $700,000, the prospects can be discouraging indeed.
Jobs, affordability and generally keeping pace in a capitalist democracy can be difficult.
Ensuring that youth are presented with new ideas for new types of work to compete and thrive in B.C. is no easy task. Easing the anxiety by showcasing potentially positive educational outcomes will certainly help the cause.
The B.C. Ministry of Education service plan illustrates this need when it notes that there is a "global movement to transform the education system," and rightly observes that "many career opportunities did not exist 10 years ago."
Keeping up with trade and global economies of scale will require our education system to shift gears and this is also duly described in the ministry service plan: "Increased competition in the global economy makes improving the productivity of B.C.'s workforce a necessary and urgent priority."
Some recent changes are promising. A couple of days ago Minister of Education George Abbott introduced legislation that would spell the end of the College of Teachers and replace it with a Teachers Council that has been structured so teachers can't regulate themselves.
Delta school board chair Dale Saip welcomes this news, calling it a "step in the right direction."
Other promising developments are moving along right here in Delta.
Earlier this year the district undertook an extensive "visioning exercise" with the goal of becoming a "leading district for innovative teaching and learning success."
All 31 schools in Delta have selected an "inquiry co-ordinator" whose job it is to define and refine local school community strengths.
These types of initiatives suggest the process of education can evolve and we should do our best to get involved when we can to support classroom innovation so that future generations of students can feel less anxious than the current ones.
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