Ontario's New Vision for Education

Academic Excellence, Equality, Well-being and Public Confidence

Ontario Graduates Do Perform Well

The education system in Ontario is recognized as one of the best in the world and has more high school graduates now than ever before.

The number of students meeting provincial academic standards has risen drastically compared to ten years ago. 71% of children in Grades 3 and 6 met our high provincial literacy and numeracy standards today as compared to 54% a decade ago. Also, 83% of Ontario students graduate today. Ontario’s graduates are also getting access to global opportunities today because of the education they received in Ontario. 

With a solid track record of successes to build on, the Ontario government decided it was time to aim higher with a renewed vision dubbed: Achieving Excellence.

This new concept commenced in 2013.

The government involved all direct and indirect stakeholders in education from students, parents, teachers, support staff, schools, and school system leaders to businesses and non-profit organizations with the aim of finding out what learners will need to do to reach even greater levels in the future. Achieving Excellence was born as a result of these engagements. 

Achieving Excellence was crafted after thorough consultations. It is the next step to building a more vibrant and prosperous Ontario Education system that is committed to the well-being as well as the success of all students. 

Achieving Excellence is the ultimate example of what a high-quality, responsive, accessible, and integrated education system should be like from early learning to adult education.

A photo of teachers in training for mathematics
Photo of teachers studying computational thinking to bring to their classrooms.

Priorities

Achieving Excellence focuses on many areas the most notable being the following: 

1. Creating equal opportunities for all:

Although the Ontario education system is doing better than most education systems on matters relating to the creation of equal opportunities for all, a lot has to be done for Indigenous students, children with special needs, as well as, the youth in care i.e. children in Children’s Aid Societies. The Ontario government is focused on closing student achievement gaps and boosting the public’s confidence in publicly-funded education going forward. Creating equal opportunities for all has been identified as the best way of doing this.

2. Increasing student achievement:

There is also a special focus on improving mathematics performance, literacy levels, and student graduation rates.

The new vision for Ontario education is also focused on raising expectations for valuable skills such as:

  • communication, 
  • critical thinking, 
  • creativity, 
  • collaboration, 
  • innovation, 
  • and entrepreneurship. 

The new vision also intends to improve declining performance in mathematics. Like most jurisdictions in Canada and globally, Ontario students aren’t doing well in mathematics. The government wants to do something about this. The government also wants to improve graduation rates even further. 

Renewed Goals 

The renewed vision for education in Ontario has resulted in the formulation of new goals.

Using Achieving Excellence, the Ontario government wants to:

a. Achieving Excellence: One of the primary goals is to help students achieve academic excellence. Besides achieving higher levels of academic performance, the government wants students to get valuable skills necessary for success in the future as well as help students to be able to demonstrate good citizenship. The new vision also focuses on educators i.e. they will be supported to levels where they will become recognized as some of the best educators globally. 

b. Ensuring equity: In the new vision, all students will be supported to reach their full potential. All students will have access to rich learning experiences from early learning to adulthood to ensure everyone gets equal opportunities.

c. Promoting well-being: All students and children will have enhanced physical and mental health, a positive sense of belonging and self as well as the skills needed to make good life choices. 

d. Enhance public confidence in the public school system: The government also wants to improve public confidence in Ontario’s public school sector which will in turn help in developing new generations of capable, confident and caring citizens. 

Summary

Although Ontario has had one of the best education systems in the world for over a decade now, there was a need to aim higher and boost academic excellence, as well as, the well-being of students. The government also saw a need to invest in educators as well going forward. The new vision for Ontario’s education system focuses on making the education system better and more capable of satisfying the needs as well as expectations of the future. 

The Ontario government wanted an education system that supports children from birth all the way to adulthood i.e. an education system that focused on the development of a whole person. There is increased focus on the well-being of students based on the realization that well-being plays a crucial role in academic success and promoting equality. 

It’s clearly an exciting time for the education system in Ontario. The system’s past accomplishments have been used to build a stronger foundation for greater success in the future. The future of the education system looks brighter in regards to academic excellence and many other significant areas. For instance, future learners will be well-rounded citizens equipped with all the necessary skills they need to succeed on a global platform.

Superior North Catholic's Board Improvement Plan 2016

Initiative Contact: Alexa McKinnon