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High schools take notes
By Mark Brown
Ontario colleges and universities will be able to determine the type of material students are studying, long before they apply to post secondary institutions.
Representatives from colleges and universities will consult with the Ministry of Education and Training, as they set the new curricula for high school students, in preparation for the elimination of Ontario Academic Credits.
"[The restructuring] is designed to get Ontario in line with the rest of the country," said Robert Rosehart, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, chair of the Council of Ontario Universities Task Force on Secondary Schools and a member of the Ministry's advisory group on secondary school reform.
Presently the restructuring is at the stage now where there will be a detailed process to hear input, he said.
Under the new curricula, high school students will be put into one of three streams to prepare them for either university, college or to enter the workforce upon graduation, Rosehart explained. Students will enter these streams when they enter Grade 11, he added.
Universities are being asked to select representatives from each subject area to give each school a voice in the changes, Rosehart said. Later these representatives will be brought together to gain a consensus and to validate the program, he added.
Dalin Jameson, Western's executive assistant to the president and government relations officer, said Greg Moran, provost and VP-academic, views the restructuring as a major opportunity.
Jameson added the COU suggested to the government that they might want to invite universities as part of the restructuring.
"We don't quite know what we are looking for," Jameson said. Currently Western is deciding who will represent each faculty. "We haven't really got to the point where everyone who we want involved has gotten involved."
A validation process has been added for the colleges and universities between February and June, said David Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education and Training. He added according to the present schedule, the curricula for Grades 9 and 10 will be ready in February, while the curricula for Grades 11 and 12 should be ready in early 2000.
Ross said the government is willing to listen to the advice of colleges and universities. "If they see something that is not going to prepare students for university, then it has to be addressed."
Jameson said he was not sure if the universities will restrict their review to Grades 11 and 12, noting each program will be approached differently. "It depends on the point where the streams they are revising start to diverge."
"The bottom line for us is the [secondary school] graduates have to have the same attributes," Rosehart said. He added one of the goals of the consultation is to take advantage of the opportunity to try and improve the level of students entering college and university.