Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 18, 2010

Province Proposes Major Change To Modernize Education System

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Staying in School Until 18 Will Help Young Adults Obtain Skills to Thrive in Global Economy: Allan

Education Minister Nancy Allan announced today the province will propose legislation to require all young Manitobans to continue pursuing their education or training until they reach the age of 18.
“The days in which receiving a high-school diploma were considered to be the end goal of our education system are long gone,” said Allan.  “Today, young adults need to leave school with a high-school diploma and the necessary qualifications to pursue further education or be successful in the workplace.
“Success in the modern economy will be dependent on students having every opportunity to pursue post-secondary education, training and apprenticeships,” she added.  “Those opportunities are lost when a young person does not have a high-school diploma or equivalent. Raising the compulsory education age to 18 will help ensure kids stay in school and are well prepared for life beyond the classroom.”
Students in Manitoba are currently required to be in school until the age of 16.  Under the proposed legislation, young people would be required to stay in school or in a recognized workforce training program until they are 18 or graduate.  Penalties which currently exist related to children under the age of 16 who are not in school would also be strengthened.
“This is the most significant change in educational standards in decades,” said Premier Greg Selinger.  “This is not about telling young people what to do, it’s about opening doors for success in life.”
Allan said she will consult widely with stakeholders about how these changes would be implemented.
“Manitoba’s high-school graduation rate has increased to 80.9 per cent in 2009 from 72.4 per cent in 2001,” she said.  “This increase is due in large part to the collaborative and innovative work being done by parents, educators and school divisions. The proposed legislation would build on that spirit of collaboration in order to keep our graduation rate increasing and to keep our school system improving.”
“Post-secondary education or training is essential for young Manitobans entering today’s workforce,” said Stephanie Forsyth, president, Red River College.  “It is encouraging to know the provincial government is taking steps to ensure students finish high school and plan to attend college or university, or enter a training program that will lead them to a rewarding and successful career.” 
This proposed legislation would build on other recent innovative initiatives taken by the province to help parents manage their busy household schedules, improve communications with parents and teachers and help students manage timelines, said Allan.  These initiatives include announcing that a new plain-language report card and common in-service days will be put in place in order to help parents help their children succeed, as well as updated and clear assessment guidelines on academic promotion or retention, academic honesty and late or missing work.
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