Ontario established high school as a five-year program in order to give students a more comprehensive education than that provided in the other provinces. The extra year also provides more time for maturity before the big leap to university. But now, the government, to save some money, is altering its education plan and is adopting other provinces' schooling programs.
OACs were and are, bridging the gap between high school and university by providing preparatory classes which would give the students an advantage in their first-year courses. Throughout the years, undergrads have piled into Ontario universities ready to meet these challenges.
But many have found the adjustment lying in social aspects rather than academic, something an extra year of high school does not resolve. Many are faced with roommate problems, organizational habits and another 12 months in the same location does not place them in a strategic position.
The extra year prolongs the student's education as they take more spares in grade 11 or 12, instead of increasing their academic load. Such an increase would put them in a stronger position when they make the transition to university.
University admissions peer at grade 11 and grade 12 marks, but the stress is placed on OACs. Upon entering high school, eager young niners already understand the systems and therefore assume they have four years to play and then one year to crack down and hit the books. This form of thinking does not aid the Frosh in taking on the essays and exams in their first term.
Students from other provinces, as well as in the United States, have been bearing the post secondary front with only four years of high school. Their success rate has not been any lower than their Ontarian counterparts and they go on to meet the challenges in the working world with as much ambition and prosperity.
However, the government's decision to change horses in mid-stream will cause an increase in university admissions in the year 2003 and 2004, as the four-year program will be imposed upon students entering their high school education the next fall. While the number of students applying to university increases, the acceptance averages will rise simultaneously. This will encourage the students to push the limits in their academics, in order to gain a competitive edge.
Five years of high school was, in ideal terms, a good idea however, it is not the quantity of education which prepares the unsuspecting student for university, but the quality of education which will enhance their survival.