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Chapter 10 Transforming Canada’s Education System: The Impact on Educational Inequalities, Opportunities, and Benefits.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 10 Transforming Canada’s Education System: The Impact on Educational Inequalities, Opportunities, and Benefits."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 10 Transforming Canada’s Education System: The Impact on Educational Inequalities, Opportunities, and Benefits

2 “…formal education contributes to social inequalities of class, gender, and race...” Wotherspoon

3 The Politics of Educational Reform Modern education systems –offer legitimacy to particular views of the world –Correspond to dominant patterns of activity and belief, serving in the process to undermine or ignore alternatives

4 Illiteracy? 1987 national newspaper survey: more than 1 in 5 Canadians lacked necessary skills in reading, writing or computing to the extent that their ability to perform everyday work tasks was impaired

5 Literacy rate fails to budge 2003 Research (StatCan) The literacy rate among Canadian adults has remained virtually unchanged during the past nine years average literacy score for Canadians had not changed significantly during the nine-year period since the last major survey was conducted in 1994 some 15% of Canadians, about one out of every 7, scored in level one, the lowest performance level. This was down slightly from 17% in 1994 well over 3 million Canadians aged 16 to 65, have problems dealing with printed materials and most likely identify themselves as people who have difficulty reading Skills in literacy are important because, in all participating countries, the study found a significant wage return for higher skill levels

6 But…social problem has been transformed into an economic matter that “cost” business a lot in accidents, errors, lost productivity, and extra training. So… Individuals and schools were blamed for their failure to produce a literate population. While… illiteracy was in fact the product of a complex set of economic and social relationships beneficial to groups such as employers of low-cost, poorly qualified labour power.

7 Liberal Perspective – view of education that addresses the rights and opportunities of individuals - Meritocracy – portraying formal education as a vehicle for nurturing the talents and capacities of each individual in harmony with his or her ability to contribute productively to social development social and economic rewards, such as prestige and wealth, provide an incentive

8 Conceptions of equality of opportunity emphasize the need for fairness in social organization. Based on an assumption that individual differences = unequal distributions of social rewards and outcomes without which society would not be able to function effectively and efficiently

9 Debates on the future of education proponents of a conservative view that schools are failing to teach the fundamental knowledge and skills required in a core area of academic subjects parents and employers demand that schooling be made more directly responsive to labour-force requirements

10 Reality Education systems are not and cannot be an effective panacea for social and labour-market problems  Two contradictory dynamics: –1.- liberal democracies’ stress on greater equality of opportunity and participation in economic and political life for all members of society –2.- fundamental conflict and structured inequality upon which a capitalist economy is based

11 Larry Kuehn - former president of the B.C. Teachers‘ Federation. The environment in which public schools operate has changed substantially over the past fifteen years… With the attack on public spending and the focus on eliminating deficits, education has taken a big hit. Expenditures on schools have been reduced across the country Many more young people are finding themselves in the contingent workforce, being told they have to accept part-time work, low wages, uncertain hours, lack of career expectations, over qualification for jobs, and constant job changes. Rather than facing up to the real sources of these problems in the economy, critics are quick to place blame on the schools, claiming that we face a training deficit rather than a job deficit. Business groups -- and sometimes labour as well -- call for more "applied" courses, for more focus on employment skills

12 School boards have fallen out of favour in this new environment. Most provinces have reduced the number of elected boards, using cost-savings as a justification. …the expanded role of business in the schools. With cuts to spending, schools are more vulnerable to accepting corporate sponsorships, using teaching materials created by companies with big bucks to produce glitzy units, and especially to welcoming "gifts" of technology. Corporate logos and exclusive supply contracts are becoming an everyday experience in some schools.

13 - Educational conflict and contradictions lead to the massive expansion of the education sector within the welfare state. - annual educational expenditures in Canada have increased steadily since WWII - strongest growth at the post-secondary level Dimensions of Educational Expansion in Canada

14 - …continuing high levels of fiscal support for education have opened opportunities for greater segments of the population to benefit from participation in educational programs - educational expansion and massive investment in education programs have made it increasingly possible for more people to attain both longer exposure to and higher levels of formal education

15 1961-1996 – the proportion of population of 15 years of age and over who had less than Grade 9 declined from 44% to 12.6% - at least some post-secondary education – from 13% to 47.6% - BUT – considerable segments of the population continue to be excluded from post-secondary educational programs and other formal training opportunities beyond elementary and secondary school.

16 1994-95 – 31% of men and 36% of women in the 18-24 age group were enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies in Canada, while 52.4% of the nation’s adult population had no post-secondary education Current Data –Level of educational attainment in the population aged 25 to 64, OECD countries, 2002 Less than college – 57% College – 22% University – 21%

17 Welfare State Reduction - The rapid growth in educational expenditures has made education a visible target for governments preoccupied with deficit reduction and fiscal restraint - Canada has experienced declining rates of increase in expenditures on education and a reduction in the level of educational spending in relation to other national expenditures since the 1970s

18 Educational reorganization: - program cuts, curricular reorganization…restrictions on student loans and bursaries, and closer working relationships between corporate and educational sectors - education is being promoted as a “commodity” that must be managed rationally in order to advance the national interest in increasingly competitive world markets driven by innovation, managerial flexibility and high-tech. Contradiction - education system cannot be maintained in its existing costly state and undereducated populace constitutes a barrier to the advancement of national productivity

19 Costs to the Individual - steady increases in the in the number of students who have had to borrow funds from student loans programs or other sources and in the amounts they borrowed - debt loans for university students increased by 26% (1986-90) - access to formal education is increasingly subject to limitation based on the individual’s or family’s ability to pay, thereby contributing to educational inequalities.

20 Student debt 1990/91 - 1995/96 Postsecondary students borrowed more money than ever to pay for their education and found it increasingly difficult to pay it back, according to a new study on Canada Student Loans One in 3 students who left school in 1995/96 had repayment difficulties in the first year compared with 1 in 5 students in the 1990/91 group In total, postsecondary students consolidated over $1.1 billion in loans in 1995/96, up 70.6% from five years earlier Students aged 20-21 fall into financial turmoil


22 Inequalities of Educational Opportunities While increasing numbers of people benefit from exposure to formal educational programs, disparities persist in enrollment and attainment. (Class, Gender and Ethnicity) –CLASS Educational aspirations and enrollment in educational programs is based on a students’ socio-economic background as well as the parents’ level of education attained.

23  Anisef and Okihiro  Ontario Survey of Students (1982) Porter, Porter and Blishen  Guppy, Mikicich and Pendakur (1984)  National Survey- Clark  Curtis, Livingstone and Smaller (1982)

24 GENDER Gender discrepancies in full time University Undergraduate programs Enrollment in part time studies is higher for females Females in non-traditional programs- Medicine, Law, Dentistry Female dominated programs- Nursing, Education, Secretarial Sciences Male dominated programs- Engineering, Electronics and electrical technology programs


26 ETHNICITY 1981 Census (Ethnic groups and educational attainment) Jewish and Chinese Aboriginals underrepresented in Educational opportunities First Nations Initiatives- promoting “Opportunity for all.”

27 Inequality of Benefits from Formal Education A person’s likelihood of being employed and having a higher income increases with the level and amount of their formal educational credentials Labour force Participation (1996)- 27.3% participation among adults with less than grade 9- compared with 51.6 % of high school graduates and 82.1% for those with University degrees. Wage Gaps- Females make 73.1% of that of males – Kindergarten and Elementary school teachers - males -$45 971 and females $37 699

28 University enrolment by field of study 2000/01 University enrolment in fields related to technology, such as engineering and mathematics, has soared during the past three years, and the gains have been particularly prominent among women From 1997/98 to 2000/01, enrolment in mathematics and physical sciences rose 19%, the biggest jump among all fields of study. In both fields of study, the number of women enrolled increased more than 20% during the 3 year period. (the proportion of women increased in every field of study except agricultural and biological sciences) Women accounted for 23% of the enrolment in engineering and applied sciences, and 30% of the enrolment in mathematics and physical sciences

29 Women led growth in all fields of study Of the total enrolment of 861,700 in 2000/01, some 494,700, or 57%, were women, their highest proportion ever formed the majority in all fields of study except engineering and applied sciences and mathematics and physical sciences The two fields of study with the largest proportion of women in 2000/01 were education, where they represented 72% of total enrolment, and health professions and occupations, at 70% The number of women in engineering and applied sciences increased 20% during the same time frame, compared with only 7% for men. Among women, enrolment increases at the graduate level exceed 13% in five different fields of study: engineering and applied sciences; mathematics and physical sciences; agricultural and biological sciences; social sciences; and health professions and occupations (higher increase than in men)

30 Higher education pays off for women, U.S. study reveals By CAROLINE ALPHONSO Globe and Mail Prof. Perna found that the incomes of women with a bachelor's degree were 24% higher than those of women with only a high- school diploma. Young men had no significant wage benefit from higher education. She found that occupations dominated by men with only high- school diplomas, such as skilled blue-collar work, pay much better than the jobs that women without university degrees tend to have. women with bachelor's degrees earn 50 to 80% more a year than those with only a high-school diploma. Men with bachelor's degrees, on the other hand, earn around 25 to 30% more annually than men with only high-school diplomas.

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