Ontario is updating its curriculum in both computer science and technological education to include more hands-on learning.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the changes will give students experience with new technology, expose them to real-life problem solving and prepare them for the job market.
“Today in this province and country there’s 17,800 vacancies with respect to computer information system professionals,” Lecce said at a press conference on Monday.
“There’s a massive need for this type of competence in our economy and many employers, including in some of our more advanced areas of the economy, are saying, ‘we need young people to graduate with those types of job skills.'”
The updated computer studies curriculum will start with a new Grade 10 course in September and will give students the opportunity to apply coding concepts, build hands-on projects, and investigate artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and emerging technologies, Lecce said.
The technological education curriculum updates are set to start with revised Grade 9 and 10 courses in September 2024.
The updates will reflect automation advancements in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, and the new course material will prepare students for careers as electricians and plumbers and in communications and manufacturing, the government said.
Ontario last updated the technological education curriculum in 2009 and the computer science curriculum was last updated in 2008.
Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said the new curriculum will ensure students can take advantage of job opportunities in growing fields in Ontario.
“We want the next generation to understand that there is every bit as much value in a trade certificate as there is in a degree,” Fedeli said.
“The skilled trades are quite literally building Ontario, whether that’s through manufacturing jobs, or the building of homes and critical infrastructure. There are also key opportunities in new sectors, aerospace information technology that all depend on STEM learning, supported by a tech workforce of more than 408,000 employees.”