The Ontario government is updating high school courses in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), including learning related to the skilled trades to ensure students have the cutting-edge digital literacy and modern technological skills to lead the global economic, scientific and societal innovations of tomorrow.
These changes to the Computer Studies and the Technological Education curriculum also support the government’s plan to align curriculum changes with the province’s economic needs and place an emphasis on critical life and job skills, needed in the fast-growing skilled trades.
“I am proud to announce another step by our government to ensure students are prepared for the jobs of the future. This change will provide students with hands-on experience with technology, expose them to real-life problem solving, and enhance learning that focuses on giving young people the skills to think critically, dream boldly and chart new pathways forward for our economy,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our focus is to ensure our students have the most up-to-date curriculum that strengthens life and job skills leading to rewarding careers in technology and innovation, including in the skilled trades.”
The two new curriculum changes to better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow are:
- A new Computer Studies curriculum, beginning with a new Grade 10 course to be implemented in September 2023.
- A new Technological Education curriculum, beginning with revised Grade 9 and Grade 10 courses to be offered in September 2024.
The Digital Technology and Innovations in the Changing World course will replace the current Grade 10 Introduction to Computer Studies course which was last updated in 2008. Since then, the world has welcomed an emergence of significant technological innovations such as the advancement of smartphones and wearable technologies, connected and automated vehicles, and the rise of social media. The updated Computer Studies curriculum will position Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in STEM education and provide students with the opportunity to apply coding concepts and skills to build hands-on projects and investigate artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other emerging digital technologies that can support them in a wide range of fields and careers.
The revised Technological Education curriculum, which has not been updated since 2009, will reflect the advancements in automation across sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, which has increased the need for a highly skilled workforce. These revisions will help prepare students for high paying and rewarding careers in communications, the construction industry as electricians, plumbers, and the manufacturing sector.
“Our government continues to foster innovation by growing Ontario’s world-class workforce,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Every year, more than 65,000 students graduate from STEM related programs. By modernizing STEM and skilled trade-related courses, we’re ensuring our talent pool continues to grow and that Ontario businesses continue to innovate and thrive.”
These curriculum changes build upon other actions taken by the government to bolster its Skilled Trades Strategy that will help attract more students into the trades including investing $4.8 million over two years to expand the Dual Credit program.
The curriculum revisions are also part of the next steps in Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up and ensures students have exposure and access to learning opportunities to consider STEM fields and skilled trades as a future career. Other recent curriculum updates include:
- Ontario’s revised Science and Technology curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 implemented in September 2022.
- Ontario’s new de-streamed Grade 9 Science course implemented in September 2022.
- Ontario’s new de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course implemented in September 2021.
- Ontario’s new Mathematics curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 implemented in September 2020.
- There were 17,865 job vacancies for computer and information systems professionals in Ontario in the second quarter of 2022, reflecting current demand for computer science/technological-based jobs.
- By 2026, it is estimated that as many as one in five jobs openings in Ontario will be in the skilled trades. The province is also expected to face a shortfall of 100,000 construction workers over the current decade.
- In November 2021, Ontario announced an investment of an additional $90 million over three years to further promote the skilled trades to young people. With this investment, Ontario has invested nearly half a billion dollars in the Skilled Trades Strategy, from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
- In 2022-23, students are approved to participate in over 25,500 Dual Credits, of which over 10,900 are related to the skilled trades.
“FIRST Robotics Canada understands the importance of educating young people who are mobilizing our communities through technology and striving to improve Canadians’ lives. It’s the people behind the technology that are constantly transforming. FIRST Canada inspires students to pursue studies and careers in coding, science, technology, engineering, and math and gain critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership skills, which set them on a path to future success. We are very pleased to see the Government of Ontario creating pathways for students through this new curriculum that will empower them to be the creators of technology rather than just users of technology.”
– Arti Javeri
Vice President Partnerships, First Robotics
“As digital technologies play increasingly important roles in our lives, it is critical that students have opportunities to attain digital fluency and prosper in the digital economy. For over a decade, in an effort to ensure equitable access to computer science and coding, Canada Learning Code has been delivering hands-on and project-based education, including training support and resources for both students and educators around Canada. We are pleased with today’s announcement which demonstrates that our government shares our vision and we are eager to support the students and teachers of Ontario.”
– Rekha Rao-Mayya
CEO Canada Learning Code