Serious drop in quality of Canada's education and skills training: report

A new report urges Ottawa to work with the provinces and industry to put a stop to what it calls an alarming slide in the quality of Canada's education and skills training.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives-commissioned paper is being released ahead of this week's meeting of Canada's provincial education and labour ministers and industry representatives in Charlottetown.

The report says only the federal government can lead and create a national education and skills training strategy.

It urges Ottawa, the provinces and the territories to form a body that's responsible for learning and training, which would set targets for all learning phases.

The report recommends creating a separate body to keep track of how well the country is meeting its learning goals.

The paper cites statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other sources that ``point to the irrefutable conclusion that Canada is slipping steadily down the international learning curve.''

"The report we are publishing this week recommends a formal federal-provincial body to oversee learning and training in Canada,'' council spokesman Ross Laver said in an email.

"Not everyone would go that far, but there's no question we need a lot more co-operation and collaboration between different levels of government.''

He also lamented the fact the country's labour ministers have met only once in the past four years, to discuss a job grant proposal at the urging of federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney.

"The minister deserves a lot of credit for trying to get everyone around the same table,'' Laver said.

"The irony is that he and Canada's provincial education ministers are actually going to be staying this week in the same hotel in Charlottetown, yet for the past four months the education ministers have refused to meet him.

"How can Canada hope to maintain a world-class labour force when the people who are in charge of developing education and training policy won't talk to one another?''

The report also says the private sector needs to invest in more programs and training for their employees. It contrasts the situation in Canada to that of Germany, where employers work with governments and educators to create a highly skilled labour force.

"The German system ensures close co-ordination and co-operation between levels of government and with social partners.'' it says.

"The close involvement of employers and employees at the national and state level promotes a powerful sense of responsibility among corporations that is reflected in their commitment to skills upgrading in the workplace.''

Kenney has spoken highly of the German apprenticeship system. Earlier this year, he led a delegation of Canadian politicians from five provinces, along with business and labour union representatives, on a trip to Germany and Great Britain to learn about their apprenticeship programs.


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  1. Joseph posted on 07/06/2014 07:00 PM
    As long as one learns French, what the big deal. In Quebec you don't need any skills.
  2. Peter posted on 07/06/2014 08:45 PM
    When those in charge of educating Canada's children are not communicating, it bothers me to know that our taxes are paying for their lavish lifestyles while they still get paid, sit back, and do nothing for what they are specifically paid for.
    What can we do as taxpayers? Nothing but complain in these comment sections which accomplishes nothing but makes us feel better that we did our part in voicing our opinion...
  3. Peter posted on 07/06/2014 08:48 PM
    Actually this is excellent strategy for the Canadian government.

    The less intelligent the citizens are, the easier they are to control.
  4. niall quaid posted on 07/06/2014 09:02 PM
    now that we realize that no high school graduate can calculate the change from a $20 BILL or complete an employment application form, is illiterate and has no idea of life skills perhaps we can at least get rid of all the whackos and weirdos who are designing and teaching our children' education. 90% of those entering university require tutoring which has to be paid for by the parents and even then all you have to do to find out the facts about illiteracy is to ask the professors of first year students. It is almost irreparable. I know. I have an offspring who was threatened with firing by the University Dean because his daughter student was failed. She did not even turn up to write the exam! He still wanted her to be put through! The cover up by the Provincial education systems and their masters (school boards and politicians) is no more than a union sponsored con game which has no intention of improving the system. Those "in charge" are a bunch of incompetent liars who have to date snowed the taxpayer and given into the kids who insist on getting good marks "or else". High school "graduates" have not received an education and anyone who thinks so is sadly delusional. At the very least the system is destructive and totally (union) self serving. All the schools should be closed down for a year until a proper curriculum is prepared and taught by newly trained teachers picked form the existing lot .. say 50% are good… the rest should go on the scrap heap. Any bets that we will not be asking the same question 10 years from now? (Got to protect that teachers pension no matter what). Students no more about the latest new drug on the street and American Idol than they do about calculating 4 times tables or drawing a 45 degree angle (who needs that?)
  5. Werner M posted on 07/06/2014 09:23 PM
    I have worked in the glass and aluminum industry since the late 70s when I started my apprenticeship. Year after year the quality of training has declined to the point where no one trains their employees anymore.

    Here in BC if you ask glazing business owners about training, they all have the exact same reply... "If I train him, he'll just go somewhere else for more money." And that's the end of the discussion.

    There's also a subculture amongst the untrained workers that the guys with actual certificates are "frauds" and that training and especially education is for losers. A 'real man' already knows all he needs to know, and therefore rejects any notion of training.

    The owners don't want to pay for it. The workers don't want it either. It's this abysmal attitude which is failing us. That's the state of the glazing industry. While other industries lead the way into the 21st century the glazing industry is slowly going back to the way things were done in the 80s.
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