Double cohort nightmare
Editorial Board 2001-2002
Double cohort nightmare
Skipping class, having a spare and going to the prom were rites of
passage for most people at some point during their high school days.
But, in the modern hallways of high schools across this province, a new
rite of passage is making a name for itself – the double cohort.
Essentially, it works like this: phase out the OAC year and implement a
four-year high school curriculum, similar to those in other Canadian
The problem, however, arises when students from the old, five-year
curriculum and students from the new, four-year curriculum square off to
compete for spots in Ontario universities in 2003.
The Ontario government – who is responsible for creating the double cohort
– recently aggravated the situation by abandoning plans to help
universities deal with difficulties arising from the double cohort,
leaving schools with little more than a set of "principles" as guidelines.
Under Ontario's new secondary school system, young people are now thinking
about things like university admissions standards at around the same age
they are learning to drive.
Students are also losing a year of public education that many will make up
with at university for a much higher cost, as three-year degrees become
virtually obsolete and four-year degress become the norm.
But only the lucky ones will actually get into university. More
competition means higher standards and more students SOL.
With all of the news surrounding universities of late, colleges look
better each day. They have shorter, more hands-on courses so graduates
leave school with more tangible skills.
And with so many colleges offering co-op programs, students are at an even
better advantage because they are getting the opportunity to work in their
Despite the imminent fears surrounding the double cohort, it is important
to keep things in perspective.
Remember Y2K? People were stocking up on bottled water and
non-perishables, building bunkers in their basements and taking all of
their money out of the banks because they feared that, at the stroke of
midnight, January 1, 2000 all hell would break loose.
But it didn't.
Chances are, the same can be said for the double cohort. Although it will
undoubtedly create some logistical nightmares for high schools and
universities and some undue anxieties for high school students and their
parents, it will not be the end of the world.
The double cohort will not be an easy adjustment, but, if all sides are
patient and willing to help –especially the provincial government – this
too shall pass.